Olympic partner Clark tells Donna: I won't let you down
GREAT Britain badminton star Anthony Clark is ready to play through the pain to realise his Olympic dream with Spondon's Donna Kellogg.
The mixed doubles partners are targeting gold in Beijing next month, although Clark is currently battling to overcome a heel injury.
Clark, who was born in Derby and now lives in Leicestershire, has been hampered by the problem for the past couple of months but is not overly concerned about the situation.
“It is causing me a lot of pain but I can cope with that,” said the 30-year-old.
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“Whether I will be 100 per cent for the Olympics, I don't know but it won't bother me.
“We have worked so hard to get through and a little bit of pain isn't going to stop me.
“I am certainly not worried about it and I will do whatever it takes.
“Myself and Donna are both very stubborn – maybe that is something to do with us both being from Derbyshire!
“If I couldn't play, I would not only be letting myself down, I would be letting Donna down – but that is not going to be the case.”
Clark's injury did not stop him and Kellogg reaching the final of Singapore Open last month.
“I have had this problem for two and a half months now and in that time, we have beaten some of the top pairs in the world,” he said.
“Sometimes, when you are carrying a bit of an injury, it can actually have a positive effect because it makes you concentrate harder.
“It does hurt but you just get on with it. I think me and Donna are good at dealing with that sort of thing.
“Obviously, we are both very good players but our determination is the big factor in our partnership.
“No matter how bad things get, we always keep fighting together.”
Clark added: “I am hoping by Beijing, I will be completely pain-free and playing flat out.
“There are discussions going on at the moment about how best to deal with the situation.
“I have got the top physios in the country working on my foot a couple of times a day, so it could well clear up between now and then.
“But if not, I may have to have a small pain-killing injection.
“However, nothing will stop me giving everything I have got. It is a challenge but I will rise to the occasion.”
Revealing his local roots, Clark explained: “I was born in Derby and lived in Mickleover until I was about two-years-old, I think.
“We moved to Tamworth, then Nottingham and now I live in Ellistown in Leices-tershire.
“I played one Derbyshire restricted junior tournament with Donna when I was about 15 or 16, but I played most of my junior badminton for Nottinghamshire.
“My dad Ian played more than 200 times for Derbyshire and I believe he holds the record for the most restricted titles in the county. He still plays for Derbyshire Vets team.
“My mum, Joy, also played more than 100 times for Derbyshire, so it's easy to see how I got into badminton.
“I got dragged around a fair few sports halls when I was a kid but it was not until I was 12 or 13 that I showed an interest in playing myself.
“From there, I progressed quite quickly and won my first England cap at the age of 14 when, incidentally, I played with Donna.”