TRACEY HALLAM  brought down the curtain on a glittering badminton career – just days before the start of the Yonex All England Championships in Birmingham.The 33-year-old left-hander from Burton-on-Trent bows […]

TRACEY HALLAM  brought down the curtain on a glittering badminton career – just days before the start of the Yonex All England Championships in Birmingham.

The 33-year-old left-hander from Burton-on-Trent bows out with a string of successes to her name.  Topping the list is the Commonwealth Games gold medal she won in Melbourne in 2006 to make up for her disappointment in Manchester 2002 when she had to settle for the silver.  But she also won two English Nationals singles titles and one women’s doubles crown as well as titles on the international circuit to go with her 81 England appearances.

On the international circuit she won titles in France, Vietnam, Romania and Israel as recently as 2007 and Taipei in 2005. But perhaps her best performance at Open tournaments was in finishing runner-up at the 2006 Malaysian Open.  In 10 years at the top she climbed to No 7 in the world and reached the last eight in three consecutive world championships – 2005 in Anaheim, 2006 in Madrid and, after being sidelined for six months with a career-threatening ankle injury, the 2007 championships in Kuala Lumpur.

Tracey’s comeback was complete when she qualified for Great Britain’s Olympic squad in Beijing and her second Olympics, having reached the quarter-finals in Athens in 2004 when she beat Denmark’s former world champion Camilla Martin for the first time in the second round. In Beijing she reached the third round before bowing out.

She also helped England win the bronze medal at the Sudirman Cup world mixed team championships in Glasgow in 2007.

England head coach Ian Wright said: “We are sorry to lose Tracey. She has led the way in women’s singles for the last eight years. She has been a credit to the sport, particularly with the way she fought back from her 2006 injury. She will be a hard player to replace but it has been a pleasure working with her.”

Tracey said: “Since the Olympics in Beijing I have had chance to take stock and I think now is the right time to stop. I have a lot of happy memories, particularly winning my first English National title by finally beating my great rival Julia Mann and then winning the Commonwealth gold medal. That made up for the disappointment of losing in 2002 against a player I had beaten in the team event.

“Having won a women’s doubles title at the 2008 English National Championships without any preparation, I would have like to have carried on playing doubles but it wasn’t to be.”

Tracey, who will be watching many of her former team-mates at next week’s Yonex All England Championships at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, said: “It’s a great tournament – it attracts the world’s best – and brings back many happy memories. But there are other tournaments which are also special. I have fond memories of my success in Taiwan and Vietnam and of reaching the Malaysian Open final.”

Source William Kings – Badminton England Press Release

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