Blair and Bankier cap a great Scottish Open Grand Prix

Robert Blair and Imogen Bankier brought the Scottish Open Grand Prix to a rousing finale by winning the mixed doubles title at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow this afternoon to the delight of thousands of Scotland fans.

Scotland’s two former world silver medallists defeated England’s top seeds Chris Langridge and Heather Olver 21-16 21-14 to give Blair his fourth mixed doubles title and Bankier her third.

And to finish things off Blair received the Robert McCoig Memorial Award for the best performance by a Scot after reaching the men’s doubles semi-finals unseeded as well as taking the mixed doubles title that he won with Natalie Munt in 2001 and 2002 and with Bankier in 2007, the year he also won the men’s doubles.

But Scotland’s hopes of a second title on finals day were dashed when Kirsty Gilmour failed to avenge her London Grand Prix defeat by Carolina Marin after a gruelling women’s singles final.

The Spanish top seed, who won in straight games in their London final last month, beat second seed Gilmour 21-14 11-21 21-13 after a 68-minute battle of the 20-year-olds.

But the Bothwell star was given great support by the Scotland fans who hope to see her on the podium at next year’s Commonwealth Games badminton event in this same Emirates Arena.

In the men’s singles third seed Brice Leverdez became the first French winner when he came back from 15-11 down in the deciding game to defeat second seed Henri Hurskainen of Sweden 21-8 16-21 21-16 in 63 minutes.

Selena Piek, runner-up last year in the mixed doubles, took the women’s doubles title back to the Netherlands when she and Eefje Muskens defeated Malaysian sisters and Loughborough students Hui Ern Ng and Hui Lin Ng, the fourth seeds and 2010 runners-up, 25-23 15-21 21-16.

The men’s doubles title went to Denmark when 2009 winners Mads Conrad Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding gained a walkover against team-mates Kim Astrup Sorensen and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen.

Chief Executive and Tournament Director Anne Smillie said: “Finals day provided a fitting climax to Championship week and we are delighted that our long-serving Patron, His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex was able to share the excitement of the afternoon finals with us.

“The atmosphere in the arena was tremendous and was a real appetiser for the Commonwealth Games next summer and Robert and Imogen’s success emphasised the fact that we now have genuine medal contenders in two or three events.”

Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of Glasgow Life and Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games, said: “The Scottish Open Grand Prix has been a huge sporting success for Glasgow - and the country as a whole. Staging the event in our world class Emirates Arena has added to the fantastic experience for the athletes and thousands of spectators.

“This event has underlined why Glasgow is one of the world’s top ten sports cities, and I look forward to badminton returning to the Emirates Arena at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“Of course it’s marvellous that the day finished with a Scottish win which really augers well for Scottish chances at Glasgow 2014.”

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “With the 2014 Commonwealth Games fast approaching, this year’s Scottish Open Grand Prix has given spectators a taste of what’s in store for them next year.

“The elevated Grand Prix status of the event this year attracted a strong field which makes the winning performance by Robert and Imogen even more impressive, while the Emirates Arena once again showcased Scotland as the perfect stage for events.

Final results

Men’s singles: (3) Brice Leverdez (Fra) bt (2) Henri Hurskainen (Swe) 21-8 16-21 21-16

(63mins)

Women’s singles: (1) Carolina Marin (Esp) bt (2) Kirsty Gilmour (Sco) 21-14 11-21 21-13 (68min)

Men’s doubles: (5) Mads Conrad-Petersen & Mads Pieler Kolding (Den) bt (6) Anders Skaarup Rasmussen & Kim Astrup Sorensen (Den) walkover

Women’s doubles: Eefje Muskens & Selena Piek (Ned) bt (4) Hui Ern Ng & Hui Lin Ng (Mas) 25-23 15-21 21-16 (65 mins)

Mixed doubles: (5) Robert Blair & Imogen Bankier (Sco) bt (1) Chris Langridge & Heather Olver (Eng) 21-16 21-14 (40mins)

TV Guide:

A two-hour highlights programme of the finals from the Scottish Open Grand Prix will be screened on Sky Sports 3 Digital as follows:

Thursday, November 28: 8pm, repeated at 1am and 4am on Friday Nov 29

Friday, November 29: 10am and 3pm

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