A star-studded group of badminton players are courting success at Glasgow 2014 following their selection to represent Team Scotland. Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) in conjunction with Badminton Scotland today confirmed the names of the ten athletes who will compete in the XX Commonwealth Games this summer.
This follows an intensive year-long selection period during which players have been required to achieve an agreed event-specific Badminton World Federation (BWF) world ranking placing for at least four weeks, one week of which had to be in 2014.
There are six Badminton Gold medals to be won at Glasgow 2014 over 11 days of competition at the Emirates Arena from Thursday 24 July to Sunday 3 August 2014.
Selected athletes will compete in the Team Event from 24 July 2014. This event comprises a group stage, followed by knockout matches, with each team needing three wins to be successful from the five singles and doubles disciplines. From 29 July, this will be followed by an individual knockout format for Men’s and Women’s Singles and Doubles and in Mixed Doubles.
Scotland enjoyed Team success at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games, winning a Bronze medal. Team Scotland’s last individual Commonwealth Games Badminton medal was also a Bronze, won by Susan Egelstaff (nee Hughes) at the Melbourne 2006 Games in the Women’s Singles.
Scotland has enjoyed more recent team success, with eight of the ten players selected forming the highly successful side which won all four matches at the 2013 Sudirman Cup World Mixed Team Championships to win their group and finish 13th overall, whilst six players can call upon previous Commonwealth Games experience.
One such player is British No.1 Women’s Singles player Kirsty Gilmour, who was just 17 when she helped Team Scotland reach the team quarter-finals at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. A year later, she won a Commonwealth Youth Games Bronze medal and has since enjoyed further international success, including most recently being crowned 2014 Swedish Masters Champion, one of five international Women’s Singles titles since 2012. The Scottish National Women’s Singles Champion for the past three years, Gilmour has risen to 18th in the world, and third in the Commonwealth. She will also compete in the Women’s Doubles with Imogen Bankier.
Bankier is ranked 21st in the world, having won four international Women’s Doubles titles in the past year with Bulgarian partner Petya Nedelcheva, but has also teamed up with Gilmour to great effect, together winning the Scottish Women’s Doubles crown and enjoying victory against Russia at the 2013 Sudirman Cup. It is in Mixed Doubles where 26-year-old Bankier rose to fame, winning a World Championship Silver medal in 2011, the year after she reached the quarter-finals of the Mixed Doubles at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games.
She went on to represent Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games and is preparing to perform in her home city with the ever-impressive Robert Blair. Since forming the partnership in 2013, the pair have swept to six titles, including the Scottish Open Grand Prix at the Emirates Arena, and in April reached the quarter-finals of the European Championships, elevating them to a Mixed Doubles world ranking of 15th.
At 32, Blair is the elder statesmen of the side, but his experience will be vital, having won Silver and Bronze at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, then representing England. Blair also has a World Championship Men’s Doubles silver medal to his name and will partner Paul Van Rietvelde in the Men’s Doubles in Glasgow. Together, they battled to an epic Sudirman Cup play-off win over the highly-ranked Netherlands and won the 2014 Scottish National Men's Doubles Championships.
2013 Denmark International Men’s Doubles champion Van Rietvelde reached the Men’s Doubles Quarter-Finals at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games and also competed at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune. Also competing in Pune was Martin Campbell, who won a Bronze medal and he will form a second Team Scotland Men’s Doubles pairing with Patrick MacHugh, who is making his Commonwealth Games debut.
Delhi 2010 Team Scotland member Kieran Merrilees will compete in the Men’s Singles. The three-time Scottish Men’s Singles Champion reached the semi-final of the 2013 Denmark International and has claimed a number of scalps of top 50 world-ranked players.
2014 Romanian International Mixed Doubles Champion Jillie Cooper, making her second Commonwealth Games appearance, will partner Van Rietvelde in Mixed Doubles and completing the team are 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games competitor Caitlin Pringle and debutant Rebekka Findlay.
Robert Blair Mixed Doubles, Men’s Doubles, Team
Martin Campbell Men’s Doubles, Team
Patrick MacHugh Men’s Doubles, Team
Kieran Merrilees Men’s Singles, Team
Paul Van Rietvelde Men’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles, Team
Imogen Bankier Mixed Doubles, Women’s Doubles, Team
Jillie Cooper Mixed Doubles, Team
Rebekka Findlay Team
Kirsty Gilmour Women’s Singles, Women’s Doubles, Team
Caitlin Pringle Team
Photo credit: Jeff Holmes