Scots face tough challenge at Sudirman Cup

Scotland will face a tough week of competition when their young squad heads for Queensland’s Gold Coast in May for the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017.

The draw for the 15th World Mixed Team Championships placed the Scots in Group 2A against Germany, Vietnam and Canada.

This came as a surprise because Scotland had expected to be the highest-ranked team in Group 3 rather than the third ranked team in Group 2A. However, the late withdrawals of Netherlands, Sweden, Spain from Group 2 and Mexico from Group 3 meant that the number of competing nations dropped from 32 to 28 teams and the overall groupings were adjusted.

As a result Scotland, Austria and Canada were moved up to Group 2. The Austrians are in Group 2B with hosts Australia, Singapore and USA.

But the plus side is that Scotland will finish higher in the final rankings than they would have done if they had been in Group 3.

The provisional schedule sees Scotland start against Vietnam on May 21, face Germany on May 22 and Canada on May 23, with all three matches scheduled for noon starts.

The positional play-offs take place on May 25 with Scotland facing the team that finishes in the equivalent position in Group 2B.

Anne Smillie, Chief Executive of BADMINTONscotland, said: “There’s no denying we now face a tougher campaign in Gold Coast but we have a young and eager squad and I am sure the players will rise to the challenge.”

Scotland last played in the Sudirman Cup in Kuala Lumpur in 2013 when they topped group 2A with wins over Russia, Sweden and USA before then defeating the Netherlands in the positional play-off to make it four wins out of four against higher-ranked opposition.

Top seeds China will be the defending champions and are joined in Group 1 by 11 other teams who will compete for the title.

Denmark, who defeated Indonesia to win last year’s Thomas Cup, have been drawn against them in Group 1D along with India. The Danes are No. 2 seeds.

When Denmark won the Thomas Cup last year they became the first European team to do so. Now they will be bidding to end the Asian stranglehold on the Sudirman Cup with China, Indonesia and Korea the only teams to have won the World Mixed Team Championships. Indonesia were the first winners back in 1989, Korea have won the title three times and China 10 times, including the last six.

Two of those China wins came in Glasgow in 1997 and 2007, the two occasions when BADMINTONscotland have staged the event.

Glasgow were vying to host this year’s Sudirman Cup and, although the Gold Coast got the nod from BWF, Scotland came up trumps by being offered the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 instead. So Glasgow’s Emirates Arena will host the world’s biggest stand-alone individual tournament from August 21-27.

Scotland squad: Men: Martin Campbell, Adam Hall, Patrick MacHugh, Kieran Merrilees. Women: Rebekka Findlay, Kirsty Gilmour, Julie MacPherson, Eleanor O’Donnell

Coach: Tat Meng Wong.