Archive for February, 2013

Jenny in happier times alongside Nathan Robertson

Jenny in happier times alongside Nathan Robertson

Jenny Wallwork in badminton terms has been one of GB’s most succesful athletes in recent years. Jenny is not a person I know very well on a personal level but I have always found her very approachable and willing to talk and give interviews at any tournaments and always with that cheeky grin on her face.

Jenny’s first word to me was ‘No difficult questions please’ so I always made it my business to try and get one in that challenge her to deviate from her media trained responses. Even with the odd curve ball Jenny always answered with a smile which always impressed me.

It was with sadness that I learned of Jenny’s resignation, not retirement, from GB badminton this morning which follows hot on the heels of Imogen Bankiers less public return to Scotland after the London Olympics and is sure to rock the GB high perform mance programme to its core.

On top of this the great Kenneth Jonassen returns to Denmark in the summer and the more cynical of us would jump on the band wagon and claim all is not well in GB badminton.

In a week that saw Poul-Erik Hoyer announce his official candidacy for the top role in the BWF with the slogan “Without players there is no BWF and as administrators we must never lose sight of that.” maybe some federations also need to adopt this slogan before all is too late.

Below is Jenny Wallworks official resignation letter and reading between the lines all is clearly not well in-house. I look forward to a response for GB badminton.

No voice, no choice!

It is with regret that at the age of 26 and entering the prime of my career I feel the necessity to submit my resignation from the GB Badminton Programme.

As the most successful female player with 42 Caps and the highest World Ranked player over the last 4 years I feel I have no voice or direction in the way my career is going and find myself in an impossible situation other than to remove myself from the World Class Performance Programme.

It is an athletes’ career and not the Performance Directors and an athlete should have a say in its direction. Having spoken to a number of our most successful players over recent years it is clear that they have been strong minded, highly motivated and independent individuals prepared to take ownership of their own development.
It will certainly not be a tick box exercise and an on going chase to secure funding that will determine success.

I know my dreams and aspirations were achievable as my results and achievements so far will testify but in my attempt to move forward in my development my views have been discounted. “Continue with the programme given to you or submit your resignation” was an ultimatum recently given to me.
I feel this indicates insecure, untrusting and incapable leadership and I am not prepared to be dictated to and therefore feel I am unable to continue with a programme in which I have no confidence. An unhappy player in the training environment has little or no chance of success. This sounds somewhat similar to Imogen’s situation several months ago.

I am clearly not the first to resign and under the current regime I suspect will not be the last.
I am also aware that when the system is challenged there can only be one outcome, nevertheless feel it important to make a stance for what I believe in and to express my views and concerns for the future of the game in this country.

I should mention that I will always be most grateful to my personal Coaches Julian Robertson and Andy Wood and the excellent EIS support staff in whom I have benefitted greatly over my eight years at the National Badminton Centre. Thank you to the physiotherapists who got me back to full fitness following my first serious injury so I was able to compete at last weeks European Team Championships.

I wish all my fellow players, friends and colleagues every success for the future but it is now time for me to look back with pride at my accomplishments and to move on.

Jennifer Wallwork
25th February, 2013.

Photos courtesy of BE & Badminton Photo

Likely stars in Moscow

It’s time to pack up the camera equipment once again after a long layoff and put on the snow boots as I head to Moscow as part of Badminton Europe’s media crew for next week’s European Mixed Team Championships.

The road to Moscow has indeed been a bumpy one and I have not even left home. Once again the process of getting a Russian visa has been exhausting and expensive.

All that aside I am really looking forward to the trip as this trip brings some new fresh challenges. Badminton Europe recently signed a deal with Total Sports Asia as their new media partner which means next week’s tournament will be broadcast in Asia, well at least for the semi-finals and finals that is.

The week coming will see me behind the lens once again but this time it will be more video than stills camera. A slightly new brief from BE where I will be conducting and compiling a 5 minute round up for Total Sports Asia for each of the days play. This is something I am really looking forward to. I love video and I love capturing those epic moments which to me is vitally important in relaying the excitement of our sport

Apart from that I will still have my usual commitment which I love doing especially post match interviews but there will be less photographic work this week as I just cannot do it all and we will have the great team from Badminton Photo on site to look after the still images. Of course I will still shoot any pictures I can but my time will be limited.

There is nothing like the excitement of a team badminton event and I count myself fortunate to be attending and working at this event as I will be at the European Junior next month in Turkey. I am looking forward to supporting team Ireland in Russia and seeing can any nation out there give the Danes a run for their money.

On the lead up to the Championships I have written a preview piece for Badminton Europe which you can read by clicking HERE and remember to follow BE on Facebook and on twitter (@EuropeBEC) for the latest news and gossip from Ramenskoe and don’t forget the hashtag #EMTC13 with all your tweets.

Let the games begin.