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Badminton stars Marcus Ellis, Lauren Smith and Chloe Birch abandoned after the Olympics

Team GB stars Marcus Ellis, Lauren Smith and Chloe Birch had their training support removed by EMAIL after filing complaints about culture in Badminton England

  • Trio has been prevented from working with its own national team coaches.
  • Three Team GB players had criticized the culture of the sport’s governing body.
  • Move raises more questions about culture in the British Olympic system


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Three Badminton players on Team GB have been prevented from working with the coaches of their own national teams after criticizing the culture of the sport’s governing body.

Sportsmail understands that Tokyo 2020 participants Marcus Ellis, Lauren Smith and Chloe Birch have had their coaching support withdrawn following a post-Olympics dispute with Badminton England staff, including silver medalist Nathan Robertson in doubles Mixed from Athens 2004.

The Lottery-funded players had tried to start clear conversations with head coach Pete Jeffrey and national coach Robertson earlier this month due to long-standing concerns about the environment at the National Badminton Center and the mental well-being of the players.

Marcus Ellis (left) and Lauren Smith (right) have had their badminton coach support withdrawn

Marcus Ellis (left) and Lauren Smith (right) have had their badminton coach support withdrawn

However, sources claim that Jeffrey and Robertson did not attend the meeting and a day later the three athletes were told by email that they could not use the Badminton England coaches in the foreseeable future ‘to give to all concerned. Time and space to take steps to begin rebuilding professional relationships and trust ”.

This leaves three of Britain’s best players without support heading into a tournament-packed winter, which concludes with the December World Championships in Huelva, Spain.

Sportsmail’s The revelations will raise further questions about the culture within the British Olympic system, following complaints about the well-being of athletes in sports such as gymnastics and cycling of late. It is also another example of a sport embroiled in civil war in the wake of Tokyo 2020 after similar fallout in athletics and rowing.

The troubles in Badminton England first surfaced in preparation for this summer’s Olympics, when Ellis and Smith made their complaints public in an interview with Sportsmail.

Ellis said a ‘toxic’ and ‘hostile’ environment had left him struggling to sleep after he and Chris Langridge, who won bronze together at Rio 2016, were eliminated as a Team GB men’s doubles pair in favor of the duo of lower rank Ben Lane and Sean. Vendy.

Smith, who is Ellis’s girlfriend and played mixed doubles with him in Tokyo, also said that the players had ‘lost their voices under a coach-centric dominant system’ and that Badminton England had ‘neglected their duty to care for our mental well-being. ‘. It was later announced that UK Sport would carry out a “cultural health check” after the Olympics.

Ellis (right) won Britain's first Olympic badminton medal since 2004 with a bronze in Rio.

Ellis (right) won Britain's first Olympic badminton medal since 2004 with a bronze in Rio.

Ellis (right) won Britain’s first Olympic badminton medal since 2004 with a bronze in Rio.

Team GB failed to win a medal in badminton in Tokyo, and Ellis and Smith reached the mixed doubles quarter-finals.

Smith also played with Birch in women’s doubles and they were eliminated in the group stage. After the Olympics, Badminton England CEO Adrian Christy resigned after 15 years in office.

UK Sport has since conducted its ‘walk the floor’ visit, which included interviews with staff and athletes, and it is expected that they will get their findings soon.

Badminton England declined to comment.

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