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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 August, 2004, 18:34 GMT 19:34 UK
Sologub hopeful for future
By Nick Crowther

Team GB badminton team manager Lars Sologub
Britain's badminton team manager Lars Sologub reflected on a successful Team GB performance in Athens and is hopeful they can succeed again in Beijing.

Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms won a silver medal in the mixed doubles and Sologub said: "The aim was one medal.

"It's one better than last time so we are very, very happy with that.

"Our players played the best badminton of our lives and we have the structure in the UK which can make it possible for us to again fight for a medal."

The Swede will evaluate Britain's Olympic preparation and Games performance and report his conclusions to the British Olympic Association and UK Sport before stepping down from his role at the end of the year.

Hopefully now the national bodies can really market this professionally
Lars Sologub

And he is confident that he will be leaving British badminton in good health.

"Our target was to help every athlete to come better prepared than ever to Athens to be able to perform to their maximum and they all did," he said.

"All our players won at least one round - some won more. When they lost they lost to better players, seeded players, but not without a fight."

Sologub said Tracey Hallam's victory over Camilla Martin of Denmark was particularly great and China's lack of dominance showed the improvement in other countries.

"China won eight medals out of 15 four years ago and were seeded this time to win more.

"They won five, which is great for any other team, but they were a slight surprise in that they didn't perform to a level that everyone thought they would.

"But it's good that other countries are showing they can deal with the Chinese - that's good for our sport."

China will be on home soil next time though and Sologub admitted: "We're all expecting that China as a nation will perform even better in all sports in four years time.

"I'm sure they will perform to a very high level in badminton as well - it's their third most important sport.

"But we have proven, with a young team compared to four years ago - seven first-time Olympians, that we have a structure in the UK which may make it possible for us to again fight on the same level and fight for a medal.

Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms
Robertson and Emms could help raise the profile of badminton in Britain

"We have the talents and we have a very professional structure."

And Sologub believes it is now a question of using Robertson and Emms' success to raise the sports profile in Britain.

"We have a good opportunity this time. There was a lot of media coverage that a lot of people were watching," he added.

"If we put a professional marketing plan in place then we could have more people starting to play.

"Generally speaking I think we have very, very good backing financially from the different funding authorities and we are happy with that.

"It's possibly more a question for us internally as a sport to see if we could use the money even more efficiently."

Let's hope that they do just that and British badminton can build up to more success in Beijing.





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