Gail Emms MBE is a British badminton player who has achieved international success at the very top of the game. A badminton player since the age of four, Gail was first chosen to represent England in 1995, and has regularly played for her country ever since.
Q1. How old were you when you and your family realized that you were a bit special in terms of athletic ability?
A. I think it was at the age of 7 when my potential was spotted. I had been playing at the junior club for a couple of years and the U11 Bedfordshire schools tournament was coming up and I entered to see what it was like and I ended up coming runners-up. I remember that all the girls there were looking at me in amazement because I was so young and also very short!! I then played for the U12 county team at that age which is really unheard of.
Q2. At an early age, what was your favorite sport?
A. I think badminton was my favourite sport because I could play it at such a young age and was actually pretty good at it. When you can do something well, it gives you heaps of confidence and of course we all like winning! As I grew up, I loved all sport and trying everything and anything was great.
Q3. When did you realize that Badminton was your passion?
A. Badminton was my passion when I had a serious goal. When I was 15 and watched the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and just wanted to be a part of that experience and then again in 2001 when I knew it was all about the Athens Olympics and winning a medal for Great Britain. The passion almost becomes an obsession!
Q4. Which of your many achievements are you proudest of?
A. I think it is completing the London marathon in under 4 hours. Ii did it in 3 hours and 47 mins. I am built more like a 100m sprinter rather than Paula Radcliffe and to do something completely out of my comfort zone and do it well was a very proud moment.
Q5. You've recently had baby Harry, which of your jobs is the hardest both physically and mentally?
A. I can't believe how tired I get at the end of the day with Harry. I think it is so mentally tiring thinking about someone else the whole day and making sure that person is happy, fed, etc and everything is done making sure he is safe and well, no matter what you do. The whole day is hard mentally which makes it physically tiring.
Q6. Which mum job do you hate the most, bottle making or changing nappies?
A. Bottles!! I can't wait to throw my steriliser up into the loft and not see it again for some time!! It takes a lot of time washing up, sterilising, preparing for the next day and I can guarantee that I forget something so have to go through it all again. I have a list now on my cupboard door! I really don't mind changing nappies as it only takes a couple of minutes although Harry has started eating solids and there are some very smelly nappies now!! I may change my mind soon!
Q7. Has becoming a mum changed your attitude to life?
A. Definitely. I really chilled out while I was pregnant and I think that has carried on. I used to be nickamed "Drama Queen" but all my friends say that they can't call me that anymore as I am much more relaxed about things. I guess your priorities change and you just put things into perspective.
Q8. Describe a typical day in your house from waking up to last thing at night.
A. Harry is a great baby and very text book at 5 and a half months old. He wakes at 7am and I feed him and then we have playtime. He loves going in the "Jumper" and just bounces around! He sleeps from 9am to 10am while I get a shower and cleared up. After he wakes we walk to the shops or the lake. Then it is lunchtime and then Harry goes to sleep from 12pm to 2.30pm. This where I can put my feet up with a cuppa and some lunch and check emails etc. Harry wakes and feeds and then I usually go for a jog with Harry in the pram and the dog tries to keep up! Then it is back home for playtime and Harry will have tea, a bath, and a bottle before going to bed at 7pm. I then cook dinner for me and my boyfriend Ed and then sterilise bottles and prepare feeds for the next day. After that, it is usually a bit of telly before collapsing into bed and sleeping at 10pm. Luckily Harry sleeps for 12 hours so no night feeds! Woo hoo!
Q9. If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would say to them?
A. Take That - without Robbie- and just scream "I LOVE YOU!" over and over and over again.
Q10. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
A. Not including Harry, my boyfriend Ed and my dog Rafa, it would be my iPad (to play Boggle on it as I am addicted!), my mascara (I have blonde eyelashes and look like Boris Becker without mascara) and bucket and spade set (so I could build huge sandcastles).
Q11. Describe a favorite family day out when you were a child?
A. It would be when I was really young and basically we would all go to Bedford and County Badminton and Tennis club which was round the corner from our house and I would just spend the day runnning round being ball girl for people on the tennis courts, hitting against the practice wall playing tennis, climbing into the bushes to try and find tennis balls that had gone astray and then playing badminton. There was a bar area where we got our pop and a sandwich and that was just a great day running about and doing sport!
Q12. Is this still a favorite family day out with your own young family?
A. Harry is still a bit young to be playing tennis and badminton (!) but I have started swimming sessions with him and he loves it. He really likes it when the water is splashed about!! I really want him to enjoy sport the way I did as a child so I will definitely do lots of activities with him.
Q13. How do you relax?
A. I love sitting on my sofa and watching really bad TV programmes that I have recorded on Sky !! I know that is very bad but I love it!! I also find baking relaxing and having the girls over to gossip or going to a friend's house and of course wine is always nice!
Q14. Do you enjoy cooking, if so what's your favorite meal to prepare, and to eat?
A. I love cooking and I really like making lasagna, I've recently started making a turkey version, which has much less fat than the beef version. I also like baking brownies, cookies and muffins which is not a good thing when I am still trying to lose baby weight!!
Q15. If you could give one piece of advice to a new parent, what would it be?
A. I think the best advice would be to relax. There are so many books out there and conflicting advice, so just try to relax about it all, trust your instincts and if throwing the books away will make you feel better, then do it!! I certainly did to all the books that said the weight would fall off whilst breastfeeding! It most certainly didn't with me!!