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Kirsty Gilmour 2016 European Championships podiumKirsty Gilmour will start with a first-round bye when she begins her bid to match or better last year’s European Championships silver medal in the Danish city of Kolding at the end of this month.

Today’s draw placed seventh seed Gilmour in the opposite half to Olympic, double World and double European champion Carolina Marin. The Spanish star defeated Gilmour in last year’s European final in the French town of La Roche-sur-Yon.

Gilmour will start her challenge against Slovakia’s Martina Repiska or Alesia Zaitsava of Belarus.

Scotland’s European and Commonwealth silver medallist could expect to face German Fabienne Deprez in the last 16 and Denmark’s fourth seed Line Kjaersfeldt in the quarter-finals while second seed Beatriz Corrales of Spain is the potential semi-final opponent if the draw goes according to seeding.

Kieran Merrilees tackles the men’s singles and begins against Mark Caljouw, the Dutchman who defeated him in three games at the Scottish Open Grand Prix in November. The winner will have the chance Kieran Merrilees Nationals 2017to make progress with Cyprus player Elias Nicolaou awaiting the winner. But Spain’s sixth seed Pablo Abian or Sweden’s Henri Hurskainen could then lie in wait.

Matthew Carder faces France’s Lucas Claerbout with England’s second seed Rajiv Ouseph awaiting the winner in the second round.

In the men’s doubles the draw has been particularly tough on Martin Campbell and Patrick MacHugh as they must meet second seeds and defending champions Mads Conrad-Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding. They have never beaten the Danes, who are ranked seventh in the world.

It’s just as difficult in the women’s doubles where Yonex Scottish National champions Julie MacPherson and Eleanor O’Donnell meet Denmark’s top seeds and Olympic silver medallists Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl, the three-time European champions, in the first round.

2016 SOGP day 2 Julie MacPherson and Eleanor ODonnellMacPherson has a second chance in the mixed doubles where she and Campbell start against Belarus pair Uladzimir Varantsou and Krestina Silich only for the draw to present MacPherson with another likely clash with top seeds Pedersen and Joachim Fischer Nielsen if the Scottish pair come through the opening round. The Danish pair are two-time champions and Olympic bronze medallists from London 2012.

The Europeans run from April 25-30.

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