ATHLETES from all over the world will head to Glasgow next month to compete in the Scottish Open Badminton Championships, being held at the Emirates Arena from 21-25 November.
On display will be more than 300 players from 37 nations, travelling to Glasgow from as far afield as Canada, China and India with the entry so large that all events will include qualifying while the men’s and women’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles currently have waiting lists to even get into the qualifying rounds.
A high quality entry features players from some of the Asian powerhouses, including a 16-strong squad from China which will no doubt have a big say over the final destination of the trophies.
Among the Chinese delegation will be Cai Yanyan, the 18-year-old sensation who won a bronze medal at last year’s World Junior Championships and has since shot up the rankings to No.22 in the world.
China’s rising star will surely be one of the main obstacles home hope Kirsty Gilmour will have to overcome if she wants to retain her women’s singles crown, along with 2016 champion Line Kjaersfeldt of Denmark.
A large English contingent features defending men’s singles champion Toby Penty and Rajiv Ouseph, who won European silver in April and will be aiming to add a third Scottish Open title to his collection, having won in 2008 and 2011.
Brice Leverdez of France, champion in 2013, will hope to continue some of the fine form he has shown at the Emirates Arena having beaten the legendary Lee Chong Wei at last year’s World Championships, while Denmark’s Rasmus Gemke will look to claim his first Scottish Open title.
The Netherlands will be hoping to repeat last year’s clean sweep of doubles titles with Jelle Maas and Robin Tabeling, Selena Piek and Cheryl Seinen and Jacco Arends and Piek aiming to defend their men’s, women’s and mixed doubles titles respectively.
But they will have their work cut out for them with some stiff competition including Olympic bronze medallists Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge of England.
They have not yet won the Scottish Open men’s doubles together, although Ellis won in 2010 with Peter Mills, but they will be aiming to change that this year while Denmark’s former champion David Daugaard is also likely to be a contender.
A strong women’s doubles field includes European gold medallists Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva (Bulgaria) and silver medallists Anne Tran and Emilie Lefel (France) while Ellis and Lauren Smith and Germany’s Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich, both European bronze medallists, will challenge for honours in the mixed.
Commenting on today’s M&Q lists Badminton Scotland’s chief executive Keith Russell expressed his thoughts on both the size and the quality of the entry.
“We are delighted to have attracted players from such a diverse number of countries for this year’s Scottish Open Badminton Championships,” he said.
“Particularly pleasing is the fact that we have so many players from China, who will no doubt have a say over the final destination of the medals.
“But there are some very strong European players who will also be in contention, not least our own Kirsty Gilmour and it’s a great chance for Scottish badminton fans to see some high quality badminton on home soil.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “After the success of last year’s TOTAL BWF World Championships in Glasgow, it is great to see so many athletes from around the world returning to the Emirates Arena to take part in this year’s Scottish Badminton Open Championships.
"EventScotland is pleased to once again be supporting the tournament and with such a stellar line-up of players, it promises to be a great five days of competition.”
Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Some of the world’s best players are set to meet in our world-class Emirates Arena, and we’re all in for a cracking few days of competition. With such a vast array of badminton talent coming to the city this November, it’s no wonder tickets are selling fast.
“I can’t wait to see the action for myself – and am sure the players, regardless of nationality, will all experience the traditional Glasgow welcome.”
Tickets are on sale at www.badmintonscotland.org.uk and there is still an opportunity to pick up some bargains with our early bird discount lasting until Monday 22 October.
The Scottish Open Badminton Championships are being staged at the Emirates Arena by Badminton Scotland with support from Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and EventScotland.