Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier’s hopes of a maiden Olympic badminton gold for Britain suffered a blow on the opening day yesterday when they succumbed to Russian mixed doubles pair Aleksandr Nikolaenko and Valerya Sorokina.
Adcock and Bankier emerged to a thunderous roar in front of a packed crowd at Wembley Arena, the same venue where they made a stunning run to the final at the world championships last year, but were reeled in 14-21 21-9 21-18 by the 15th-ranked Russians.
“We got a great start, our tactics were bang on ... unfortunately we didn’t keep the pressure on them in the second and they got the momentum,” Adcock told reporters.
“It definitely wasn’t stage fright, it was the fact that they managed to change their tactics to combat ours and they obviously did that very successfully.”
The British pair face an uphill battle to make the knockout round of 16 and must finish in the top two of their tough Group A which features the Chinese world number one pairing of Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei.
Today they next face 22nd-ranked Germans Michael Fuchs and Birgit Michels.