Olympic medallist Gail Emms backs new school sport partnership

SEAL OF APPROVAL -- Olympic medallist Gail Emms with some of the winning badminton players.

SEAL OF APPROVAL -- Olympic medallist Gail Emms with some of the winning badminton players.

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School sport in Derbyshire has been given a major boost by a new partnership involving the University of Derby that has been backed by Olympic medallist Gail Emms.

The university has joined forces with Derbyshire Sport and the Derbyshire Schools’ Sport Association in a link-up that will back school sport competitions across the county, with its £10.8 million sports centre playing host to several finals during the year.

The partnership, which will also support the annual Derbyshire Schools’ Sport Awards ceremony, aims to encourage more young people with an interest in sport to consider studying at the university.

Badminton star Emms, who won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics, attended the launch of the link-up and gave a demonstration of her skills before presenting medals to the winners of the Derbyshire School Games’s U16 badminton team championships. Emms, who is now 38, plays for the University of Derby’s team in the National Badminton League.

A spokesman for the university said: “We are serious about sport and have much to offer young people. This includes a range of sport and exercise courses, first-class facilities, a Performance Sport programme for badminton, basketball and volleyball and scholarship and bursary opportunites for talented athletes.”