Former winner Egelstaff tips Gilmour to shine

The top seed for this year’s Scottish Open Grand Prix, all eyes will be on home favourite Kirsty Gilmour to see if she can end the country’s wait for another singles winner.

Pressure yes, but a responsibility which should be relished according to Scotland’s last women’s singles winner.

Back in 2009, Susan Egelstaff finally got her hands on the trophy at what was then called the Scottish International Championship when she defeated two-time winner Ella Diehl of Russia.

She announced her retirement in 2012, shortly after appearing at the Olympic Games in London, but the void she left has been ably filled by Commonwealth Games silver medallist Gilmour.

And twice a runner-up at the Scottish Open Grand Prix in 2013 and 2015, either side of a semi-final appearance, Gilmour is being tipped by her predecessor to clear the final hurdle.

“Kirsty has had some chances in semi-finals and finals and I am sure sooner rather than later she will win it. That would be great for Scottish badminton,” she said.

“I always put quite a lot of pressure on myself to play well, you are playing in front of your friends and family.

“I was not getting any younger, I knew I wouldn’t have that many more opportunities to win it.

“The girl I beat was ranked really highly at the time It was a really good result.

“There has been some really impressive winners over the years so it’s an honour to be part of that.”

While Scotland has enjoyed notable success in the doubles in recent years, titles in the singles disciplines have proved harder to come by with Robert McCoig’s victory back in 1968 the last men’s triumph.

However Egelstaff believes the developing strength in depth right across the badminton world has meant that winners from different countries are increasingly common.

“The Scottish Open is one of the strongest events on the European badminton calendar,” she added.

“You need to be a good standard to be close to winning it. It’s got a great reputation.

“Singles has got a lot harder and the strength of players has really grown over the years.

“When I was playing, it was the Chinese who used to dominate the Superseries. But now you get more European players doing well too and it’s really good to see.

“The Scottish Open is one of the best run tournaments on the European circuit. It’s well respected and one the players all enjoy coming to.”

The Scottish Open Grand Prix is being staged at the Emirates Arena by BADMINTONscotland with support from Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Tickets are on sale now