Wallwork quits GB badminton programme

Jenny Wallwork
Jenny Wallwork Photo: PA Wire

England player Jenny Wallwork has quit Great Britain's funded badminton programme.

The 26-year-old doubles specialist who is from Bolton, claims she had "no voice" in the direction her career was progressing and also cited a lack of confidence in the "insecure, untrusting and incapable leadership" of Badminton England (BE).

She is the second high-profile player to pull out in the space of four months following Imogen Bankier, who is now competing back in her native Scotland.

Wallwork, who announced her decision in a statement posted on her Twitter account, has not made clear whether she intends to play on independently or not.

Wallwork wrote: "No voice, no choice!

"It is with regret that at the age of 26 and entering the prime of my career I feel the necessity to submit my resignation from the GB Badminton Programme.

"As the most successful female player, with 42 caps and (as) the highest world-ranked player over the last four years, I feel I have no voice or direction in the way my career is going and find myself in an impossible situation other than to remove myself from the World Class Performance Programme.

"It is an athletes' career and not the performance directors' and an athlete should have a say in its direction.

"I know my dreams and aspirations were achievable, as my results and achievements so far will testify, but in my attempt to move forward in my development my views have been discounted."

Wallwork, in partnership with Nathan Robertson, was one of Britain's top hopes during the pre-London 2012 Olympic cycle.

But the emergence of Bankier and Chris Adcock in the mixed doubles discipline in the 12 months prior to the Games saw Wallwork and Robertson edged out of a qualifying position.

Robertson, a 2004 Olympic silver medallist, then retired and BE announced Wallwork would be teaming up with a new partner in Andy Ellis.

Wallwork was also split from her regular women's doubles partner, Gabby White, by BE and later made known her unhappiness.

Wallwork, who recently returned to action after a spell out injured, claims she was challenged to quit after speaking of her various frustrations.

She added: "'Continue with the programme given to you or submit your resignation,' was an ultimatum recently given to me.

"I feel this indicates insecure, untrusting and incapable leadership and I am not prepared to be dictated to and therefore feel I am unable to continue with a programme in which I have no confidence.

"An unhappy player in the training environment has little or no chance of success. This sounds somewhat similar to Imogen's situation several months ago.

"I am clearly not the first to resign and under the current regime I suspect will not be the last."

BE have not yet commented but are understood to be preparing a response after being taken aback by Wallwork's announcement.

It is not the publicity BE hoped for ahead of the Yonex All England Open Championships, their flagship event, in Birmingham next week.

It also comes just weeks after GB singles coach Kenneth Jonassen announced he would be stepping down later this year.