Kirsty Gilmour will be looking for a ranking boost when she spearheads the home challenge at this week’s Scottish Open Grand Prix.
The 22-year-old Hamilton star returns to the scene of her Commonwealth Games silver medal success when she goes into action on Thursday at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena.
Gilmour is already back in the world’s top 20 but must wait until the end of Wednesday’s qualifying rounds at this Badminton World Federation Grand Prix event to see who she faces in her opening contest. Gilmour is seeded to face last year’s runner-up Beatriz Corrales of Spain in the final.
The leading GB women’s singles player in the Race to Rio is looking to build on her recent victories at the Forza Prague and Yonex Dutch Opens and her semi-final performance at the Bitburger Grand Prix Gold and runners-up spot at the Belgian International events over the last two months as she steps up her push to seal her Olympic place.
After Glasgow, she will head to Orlando in Florida for next month’s Yonex US Open and Mexico City Grand Prix to round off her year.
Badminton fans will know Gilmour relishes the challenge at the Emirates. “I love playing in front of a passionate home crowd,” she said today. “I reached the final of the Scottish Open two years ago and the semi-finals last year. I also had tremendous support during the Commonwealth Games and I am looking forward to repaying that tremendous support this week by continuing my recent good run of form.”
Scotland’s other big hopes are in the men’s doubles when the Edinburgh-Glasgow pairing of Martin Campbell and Patrick MacHugh will look to capitalise on their recent tournament success at the Yonex Hungarian International to add to their Iceland victory at the start of the year. That has lifted them into the world’s top 60 and climbing.
BADMINTONscotland Chief Executive Anne Smillie said: “We are delighted with the progress Kirsty, Martin and Patrick have made but this week at the Open there is a great opportunity for badminton fans to see the new generation of Scotland players who are falling in the footsteps of these three established players.”
Scotland have experienced Kieran Merrilees, Matthew Carder and Ben Torrance in the main draw of the men’s singles while Holly Newall and Julie MacPherson are in the qualifying and aiming to join Gilmour in the main draw of the women’s singles.
Robert Blair, the 2013 and 2014 mixed doubles winner and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, again partners Adam Hall in the men’s doubles with Scotland boasting three pairs in the main draw of both level doubles events. The Scots also have two pairs in the main draw of the mixed doubles.
A total of 278 players from 37 nations entered the Scottish Open Grand Prix and that includes the 37 players who form the home challenge.
Tickets for the Scottish Open Grand Prix are still available at the Emirates Arena.
Play starts on Wednesday with the tournament running until Sunday when there will be two finals in the morning session and three in the afternoon session.
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