JULY 4 - ACTIVITIES holiday specialists Center Parcs and Badminton England announced today the start of a five-year partnership that will see them working together beyond the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.


Gail Emms and Anthony Clark, both selected to represent Britain at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, were at Center Parcs' Elveden Forest as part of a Pre-Games team building camp and helped launch the partnership alongside London 2012 prospects Heather Olver and Robert Adcock.


It was claimed that there is a natural synergy between Badminton England and Center Parcs, the leading UK short break holiday operator, with badminton being one of Center Parcs' most popular activities.


Emms, who is preparing for her second Olympic Games, and hoping to build on the silver medal she won in Athens alongside mixed doubles partner Nathan Robertson, is said: "Badminton continues to grow in popularity amongst people of all ages and this partnership will help us sustain that growth.


"I know that Center Parcs will now be putting more of a focus on badminton within their Villages which will hopefully inspire even more people to have a go!"


The National Schools Championships, which are run by Badminton England, last year attracted over 200 entries from independent schools and School Sport Partnerships and will be an area of particular focus for Center Parcs going forward.


The Championships, which launch in September, will see competitors playing three rounds at a county / regional level, before going on to a national final to be hosted by Center Parcs at one of its Villages.


Colin Whaley, sales and marketing director at Center Parcs, said: "Through our partnership with Badminton England, Center Parcs will be helping to support England's badminton players, from grass roots through to elite, as they strive to become the best in the world," commented.


"As well as providing financial support which will help develop world class talent, Badminton England will be making the most of our facilities for their players' training camps and also the National Schools Championships, with the Olympic squad currently enjoying a team building weekend at our Elveden Village as part of their preparations prior to Beijing."


Adrian Christy, Badminton England's chief executive, said: "This is a very important day for Badminton England, and for English badminton as a whole.


"We aim to become the best badminton nation in the world by 2016 and the assistance provided by Center Parcs will help us build towards achieving that goal."


Through its relationship with Badminton England, Center Parcs' staff and customers will be able to enjoy a host of benefits including access to Team England event tickets, hospitality, mascot opportunities and coaching sessions with some of the country's top players and coaches.