Olympic silver medallist Gail Emms 'struggling financially'
By Andy Swales
Last Updated: 10/08/17 3:49pm
Olympic badminton silver medallist Gail Emms has admitted she is "struggling financially".
Emms, who together with Nathan Robertson became world mixed doubles badminton champion in 2006, has told the website www.themixedzone.co.uk that she has been forced to sell personal items on eBay having struggled to get full-time employment.
During the first decade of the new millennium, Emms was a reasonably well-known face on British television and in magazines, as she won titles at world, European and Commonwealth level, but now admits she "feels ashamed" at her current situation.
The 40-year-old said: "It's a massive dent in my pride to admit that an Olympic medallist is struggling.
"It's not just the financial situation, it's the mental battle I am facing at the moment. I feel ashamed. I am usually an optimistic person, but I do wonder if the powers-that-be at UK Sport realise that the athletes they rely on for the country's feel-good factor can sink into this situation."
Emms's greatest Olympic moment came in 2004 at Athens, where she and Robertson reached the mixed doubles final having been seeded No 4.
In the title match, they lost a close three-set match to the Chinese pair of Jun Zhang and Ling Gao, who took the deciding leg 15-12.
Yet she says, due to her present financial situation, she is living from month-to-month, adding: "Letters from my bank to say I have missed yet another payment for either council tax, phone or utility bill.
"And every time I open them, it is another reminder that I feel like I am failing. That I, Gail Emms, Olympic silver medallist, am a failure.
"As anyone else in my financial situation will testify, it hurts. I cry a lot and do what I can to make the payment, sell stuff on eBay and hope there is enough work next month.
"Some months are good and I get to do what I love best, inspiring kids in schools, motivational talks at 'women in business' events. But it gets harder each year to keep my profile and get bookings."
And she does not feel particularly upbeat about her immediate future: "Why would someone employ me?
"I have a CV that reads 'played professional badminton for 10 years'. And I have just turned 40 years old. I have no qualifications other than a sports science degree completed in 1998.
"There has been a lot of talk about supporting athletes post-retirement for mental health and, right now, I need that support."