THE COUNTDOWN to Scotland’s biggest badminton event for 10 years began in earnest today when tickets for the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 went on general sale.
And to celebrate the occasion BADMINTONscotland unveiled their first World Championship Ambassador, Celtic and Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon, who was a keen badminton player before turning his attention to football.
Craig was joined by BADMINTONscotland Chief Executive Anne Smillie, Scottish Government Minister for Public Health and Sport Aileen Campbell MSP, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life Councillor Archie Graham OBE and Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events.
Craig came across from Celtic Park to the Emirates Arena to help launch the tickets sales but also to make sure the launch of BADMINTONscotland’s ‘Shuttle Time Big Hit’ Development Festivals went with a swing.
Over the next 14 months the Festivals, which are part of the BWF’s successful global Shuttle Time development programme, will play a big part in the build-up to the World Championships to be staged at the Emirates Arena form 21-27 August next year and will then be a key part of BADMINTONscotland’s Legacy programme with the aim of getting thousands of primary schoolchildren taking up the sport.
The TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 is being delivered in partnership between BADMINTONscotland, Glasgow City Council, EventScotland and UK Sport.
Craig, who helped Scotland internationals Robert Blair, Rebekka Findlay and Caitlin Pringle put more than 200 children through their paces at the inaugural Festival before taking part in a fun mixed doubles, said: “It is so exciting to see such a large number of youngsters trying their hand at badminton and I hope they all come back to the Emirates in August next year to see the world’s best players in action. That would be a great way to inspire them.”
Anne Smillie, Chief Executive of BADMINTONscotland said: “Everyone knows Scotland has a great track record of producing major events, having staged World Championships in Glasgow in 1997 and 2007 and the Commonwealth Games badminton competition in 2014.
“We know from previous experience how popular these events are in Scotland so I’d encourage people to be quick off the mark to get their tickets for the 2017 World Championships before the best seats sell out.
“But just as important as the event itself is the legacy it will leave. We set a lot of store by our existing Play Badminton Festivals and the new Big Hit programme will be no exception.
“The aim is to get more and more schoolchildren throughout Scotland playing a game they can enjoy for the rest of their lives.
“We are delighted to have signed up Craig as our first Ambassador for the World Championships and we will be unveiling more Ambassadors in the next 14 months as we look forward to making the 2017 World Championships the best yet.”
Tickets for the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 are on sale just weeks after Glasgow was named in the world’s top 5 at the SportBusiness Ultimate Sports Cities Awards – the longest established and globally recognised rankings of the world’s top sports hosts.
Minister for Public Health and Sport, Aileen Campbell, said: “This is yet another top sporting event heading to Scotland, and I’m sure these tickets will be selling out fast. Many people won’t have seen badminton played live before, but this is a golden opportunity to see the world’s best players at close quarters. Badminton is the world’s fastest racquet sport, so this promises to be a thrilling spectacle.
“I’m delighted to see that there’s a strong legacy programme attached to the competition. If we can use the World Championships as a catalyst to get more people playing badminton, that really will be a great result.”
Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor Archie Graham OBE, said: “The TOTAL BWF Badminton World Championships is one of the biggest sporting events taking place in Glasgow next year and will see the world’s very best players go head to head in the Emirates Arena.
“It is the biggest event in world badminton and builds on the success of our international events programme, which has helped secure Glasgow’s position as one of the world’s top five sporting cities.
“Demand for tickets will be exceptionally high. The people of Glasgow love sport and I have no doubt that they will turn out in large numbers for what promises to be a week of unmissable badminton.”
Go to www.glasgow2017.com for tickets and further information or contact the Box Office on 0141 353 8000.