By Ross Lawson, Sportsbeat
Watching hero Kirsty Gilmour in 2014 Commonwealth Games action proved a huge inspiration for Holly Newall, and the Scottish starlet simply cannot wait to do it all over again at next month’s TOTAL BWF World Championships.
Newall was not even born the last time the Championships came to Scotland, but August will see her watching the very best players in the world right on her doorstep.
The 19-year-old is one of Scotland’s up and coming stars, enjoying the season of her life last year when making her senior international debut.
But now comes the opportunity to get a whole new experience – with hero Gilmour among those she is set to be impressed by in the coming weeks.
And Newall is also confident that badminton in Scotland will benefit hugely from the experience, hopeful a new generation of players can discover just why she loves the game so much.
“It’s massive for the country to have the World Championships, my teammates are playing and it’s a great opportunity for people to watch the world’s best badminton players and be able to see how fast the sport is,” she said.
“I don’t think there’s anything that can have a bigger impact than this competition, apart from the Commonwealth Games. I was there in 2014 and watching Kirsty win silver was really great for Glasgow and Scotland as a whole.
“The number of people playing badminton at club level went up a huge amount since then, it’s in schools and PE classes a lot more and people really want to play it.
“We went to watch Kirsty in the finals, it was crazy – to have the whole Emirates Arena cheering for her was incredible, the most support she has ever felt in her life and it made a massive difference to her performance.
“Kirsty has been a massive inspiration for me in the way she goes about training, the way she conducts herself. She’s a great role model for all young athletes and I would like to hope that each girl coming to play badminton looks up to her.”
While she hopes players young and old can feel the benefit, Newall is confident she too will pick up on the buzz of Glasgow hosting its first Championships since 1997.
All the best players in the world look set to descend on the city, including Carolina Marin and Saina Nehwal, in a place Newall can call home.
With the tournament just a few weeks away, the teenager admits the excitement is already building and she is hoping to absorb everything she can as an inspiration to hopefully do the same in years to come.
“I’ve never seen the top-class players up close in person so I’m looking forward to seeing them in real-life and on the court, seeing how they go about badminton and hopefully I can learn quite a lot from them,” she added.
“We’ll definitely have more people starting badminton, it’s an addictive sport and they’ll hopefully get a chance to see that.
“Everyone gets to come close together and support their own in their own country, it’s very rare that you have World Championships and Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, so to have those together in the space of three years is really special.
“To be there one day would mean everything to me and my parents. Being a senior, they can’t always come and watch me overseas and neither can my friends, so for them to come down the road would be amazing.”
The TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 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 The National Lottery through UK Sport.
Tickets available at www.glasgow2017.com/tickets