Just the ticket as Blair, Bankier and Cyril the Squirrel launch Scottish Open Grand Prix

An exciting new era for badminton was launched in Glasgow yesterdaywhen tickets went on sale for the first Scottish Open Grand Prix.

The Championships, which will be staged at the Emirates Arena from November 20-24, will attract a world-class entry – and Scotland are already guaranteed two world-class players in the shape of Imogen Bankier and Robert Blair.

The two Scotland internationalists were joined today by BADMINTONscotland mascot Cyril the Squirrel as tickets went on sale through the governing body’s official website www.badmintonscotland.org.uk

Blair, who won a world silver medal in men’s doubles in 2006, said: “I was lucky enough to play at the Emirates Arena last year and it was a fabulous setting for badminton. I can’t wait to get back there in November – and, hopefully, again in July at the Commonwealth Games.

“I am sure the new Grand Prix status is going to guarantee us a world-class entry, especially from the players from Commonwealth nations who want to get a feel of the courts before the Games.”

Bankier, the 2011 world mixed doubles silver medallist, said: “I wasn’t able to play at the Emirates last year but I am just as excited as Robert about the chance to play there in November.

“It’s a big season for the sport in Scotland and, following our recent successes, it is great that the badminton public now have an annual world-class event in Glasgow. We want them to play their part at the Scottish Open Grand Prix by coming to support us so we can make that home backing work to our advantage.”

Anne Smillie, BADMINTONscotland’s Chief Executive, said: “We have made a big step from being the No. 1 event on the European circuit to becoming a Badminton World Federation tournament of high quality.

“This has only been made possible thanks to our partnership with Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life and EventScotland. Between us we are investing £750,000 into the Scottish Open Grand Prix over the next four years.

“But this means we are able to offer Scottish badminton fans – indeed all fans of our sport – an event of true quality. Winning Grand Prix status couldn’t have come at a better time with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow just less than 12 months away.

“We are used to staging big badminton events in the City and we have some world class players in our team as well and look forward to giving the fans plenty to shout about.

“We have made big strides at all levels of our sport over the last 12 months and we want to see that progress continue. We will, of course, be working at increasing participation in all age groups, but notably among schoolchildren and to that end we will be staging a Play Badminton Festival in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome during the five days of the Championships.”

The Scottish Open Grand Prix is supported with funding from the Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and EventScotland, Scotland’s national events agency and part of VisitScotland.

Tickets are now officially on sale and you can book through BADMINTONscotland’s website www.badmintonscotland.org.uk by going to the new Scottish Open section which contains all the details you need to know about the Scottish Open Grand Prix.

Picture by Lorraine Hill: Robert Blair and Imogen Bankier in the new Scottish Open T-shirts while Cyril the Squirrel showcases the new Scottish Open Grand Prix logo

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