A sleepless night, a trip to a private dentist and some afternoon surgery meant that Anthony Clark’s 100th cap in an England shirt was certainly one to remember.
The badminton ace had a traumatic day as he endured chronic toothache and still battled on to take his place amongst England’s badminton centurions.
The 32-year-old from Leicester overcame a sleepless night, the pain and discomfort of toothache, emergency root canal treatment under local anesthetic and he still made his presence felt in England’s morning and evening badminton matches on Monday against the Falkland Islands and Uganda, respectively.
He was greeted by his England team-mates on his way to the court, as they formed a guard-of-honour for the experienced left-hander.
He wasn’t going to be denied his moment of personal history and took to the court just hours after his minor operation with men’s doubles partner and flag-bearer Nathan Robertson. The pair brushed aside their Ugandan opponents with consonant ease, as the team won 5-0 on the night. This made it a clean sweep for the day after they also beat the Falkland Islands in the morning by the same scoreline.
“It’s been a rough old day,” Clark said afterwards. “I had a terrible night’s sleep with terrible tooth ache which is not an ideal way to start the tournament.
“I knew the games today were not that tough so I never really thought I wouldn’t play. I would have liked to celebrate my century in a slightly more glamorous way but I think it will take a bit of time to appreciate what getting to 100 means.”
England’s whitewash came thanks to wins for Rajiv Ouseph in the men’s singles and Liz Cann in the women’s. Robertson also teamed up with Jenny Wallwork, and Wallwork joined Gabby White to round things off with a win in the women’s doubles.
Robertson, 33, had some words of praise to mark close-friend Clark’s marvelous achievement.
“It’s very special,” said Robertson. “We grew up together and have pretty much gone through our entire careers together. I had the pleasure of playing with him in my 100th match so it’s nice to do it the other way round.”
Clark took another trip to the dentist yesterday, but is focused on the task in hand. “We want to go out and win a medal and that will be the big achievement. If we can do that then I can really celebrate my 100th cap.”
England return to the Siri Fort Sports Comple today for games against Mauritius and Canada.