British number one singles player Kirsty Gilmour has been announced by BADMINTONscotland as the seventh and final ambassador for the TOTAL BWF World Badminton Championships in Glasgow (21-27 August).
Marking less than a week to go until the event gets underway at the Emirates Arena - the venue where Gilmour reached the Commonwealth Games final securing silver – she is hopeful that she can draw upon that inspiration as well as home crowd support for another successful championship campaign.
“You see some massive wins or big upsets from underdogs because they are in their home country and I have got a fairly good track record at the Emirates Arena,” said Gilmour.
“I think it has a lot to do with having home comforts and having the home crowd as well, so when you walk out on court and you know that ninety per cent of the people in the stadium are on your side, specifically rooting for you, it is like having another player on court with you.”
“It made a big difference at the Commonwealth Games and to have those memories and experience of such a successful Games are what I will draw upon next week.”
She is also hoping that will be a two way process, with the Championships showcasing the sport.
“We have the Scottish Open every year but to have the World Championships in Glasgow so kids and young people can see in real life what world class badminton is like at the highest level is really important for Scottish badminton and the sport as a whole.” she said.
Gilmour joins the ranks from Scottish football, rugby, golf and tennis as the latest signing to the Badminton Scotland ambassadorial family, following Celtic and Scotland goal-keeper Craig Gordon, Glasgow Warriors and Scotland fly half Finn Russell, former British Open champion golfer Catriona Matthew, leading tennis coach Judy Murray, British Olympic badminton player Susan Egelstaff and BBC Presenter and Deacon Blue drummer Dougie Vipond, in helping spread the word about the biggest global badminton championship hosted in Glasgow this year as a now senior figure in a youthful Scottish squad.
“I went from being the youngest girl in the squad to the oldest in the space of about two years which was scary, so it’s nice to be the youngest at something,” joked the 23-year-old.
“But it is so good to that we have managed to bring together this group of people that are passionate about sport and then, in turn, passionate about badminton and raising the profile.
“In Scotland, Britain, in Europe I still think it is an under-appreciated sport but if we can spread the word through these different channels though these ambassadors it is only going to help grow the sport.”
Badminton Scotland CEO Anne Smillie said, "Kirsty is a great ambassador for the sport and I'm delighted that she is bringing her skill and enthusiasm to this role.
“She had great success at the Emirates in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and, although this is a greater challenge, she can be sure of fantastic support from the home crowd.
I know Kirsty and I know that she will give everything she has, both as an ambassador and as an athlete."
Gilmour’s observation about the sport also reiterates the importance of witnessing a sporting event live.
“No-one ever comes to watch badminton live and says it was ok. They are always blown away by the quality and speed – it’s not what they expected and I think it is almost too fast for TV.
“It is better to come and watch it in the flesh. In tennis you have time to see what’s happening but with badminton a flick of the wrist is change of direction.”
Gilmour notes that with the success she has achieved to date is expectation and pressure but she is philosophical about those pressures.
“I heard a good phrase that has been passed down through a few badminton players that pressure is a privilege and if I hadn’t fulfilled my potential in the past I wouldn’t be in this position right now. So of course there will be pressure on me to be the best person in the hall and this will probably be the biggest challenge I have faced.
“I had pressure with the Commonwealth and Olympic Games but this is a little bit different,” she noted.
“This throws up new challenges but I will look at how I have coped in the past. This is a stand-alone badminton event so the focus on my sport is total but I also feel like I am a better player than I was then and now I have a Commonwealth medal and two Europeans under my belt and this is the next logical step, it would be progression,” she added.
The TOTAL BWF World Championships are supported by Glasgow Life and Event Scotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, representing the continuing commitment to building on the foundations laid by the Glasgow 2017 Legacy Programme.
The championships will be staged at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena from 21-27 August. It is being delivered by BADMINTONscotland in partnership with Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council and with funding support from EventScotland and UK Sport.
For tickets and other information go to www.glasgow2017.com