November

SCOTTISH OPEN GRAND PRIX: A HISTORY OF NOTABLE SCOTTISH WINNERS

Since its inception in 1907, the Scottish Open Grand Prix has gained a reputation as one of the most internationally renowned tournaments in the world of badminton.

Englishman George Alan Thomas leads the way when it comes to home nations singles success with 11 titles between 1907 (the inaugural year) and 1926.

But Scotland have equally shown their pedigree on the doubles court with the last triumph coming in 2014 when Robert Blair and Imogen Bankier successfully defended the mixed doubles title they won 12 months previously.

We look back at some of the most memorable years for the home countries across a tournament spanning 110 years.

 

1953: HORNER’S HEROICS ALONGISDE MALAYSIAN MAESTROS 

Back in 1951, it was Malaysia’s David and Eddy Choong who made history with victory in the men’s doubles – a title they went on to dominate for the next three years – after becoming the first players outside of Europe to compete at the tournament.

Eddy Choong went on to triumph in the singles and men’s doubles at the 1953 edition with his brother sharing the men’s doubles title and then triumphing in the mixed doubles.

But alongside this, Scotland had their own success story to celebrate, with Nancy Horner taking all three titles of her own the same year in the women’s singles, women’s doubles (alongside England’s Queenie Webber) and mixed doubles – alongside Choong.

 

1963: THE YEAR THE SCOTS DOMINATE

While no other Scottish female has emulated Horner’s triple 1953 success – Mary O’Sullivan came close a decade later, with victories in the singles and women’s doubles, as she was part of a historic year which saw a Scottish winner in every single category.

Robert McCoig lifted the men’s title and then teamed up with Frank Shannon in the men’s doubles while Yvonne Kelly was O’Sullivan’s women’s doubles partner with Mac Henderson and Catherine Dunglison the triumphant mixed doubles duo.

 

1977-1985 – GILLILAND DOMINATES THE MIXED DOUBLES

Little did those watching on know it, but 1977 saw the emergence of a Scottish legend, as Billy Gilliland won his first of eight mixed doubles titles at the championships.

The first three won alongside Joanna Flockhart, Gilliland went on to win further titles with Gillian Gilks, Gillian Gowers and Karen Chapman.

He also enjoyed success at the Scottish Open in the men's doubles with Dan Travers, winning in 1982 and retaining their title the following year, before the pair won Commonwealth Games gold in 1986.

 

2004: RITA ROARS TO END SCOTLAND’S SHUTTLE DROUGHT

Yuan Wemyss, the Chinese-born Scot, ended a 31-year wait for a home winner in the singles at the Bank of Scotland Scottish International Championships, as it was then called, although kept everyone on tenterhooks before eventually defeating England’s Jill Pittard in three games at Kelvin Hall. 

For Wemyss, it completed a Scottish International hat-trick as she won the doubles with Sandra Watt in 2001 and again with Kirsteen McEwan the following year.

 

2009: EGELSTAFF SECURES ELUSIVE SCOTTISH VICTORY   

London 2012 Olympian Susan Egelstaff made more than 90 international appearances after making her debut for Scotland in 2000 – but had to wait nearly a decade before her all-important victory in the Scottish Open in 2009.

Winning at Kelvin Hall International Sports Arena remains one of the highlights of Egelstaff’s illustrious career, after coming so close several times before.

 

2013-14: DOUBLE SUCCESS FOR BLAIR AND BANKIER 

But four years have passed since Scottish fans last celebrated a victory on home soil, when mixed doubles pairing Robert Blair and Imogen Bankier successfully defended their 2013 title with victory over Danish duo Niclas Nohr and Sara Thygesen in straight sets.

It was the perfect ending to the year for the Scots, who followed up on their bronze Commonwealth medal they had achieved three months earlier in the Scottish city.

 

To catch the action at this years Scottish Open Grand Prix, purchase your tickets here: SOGP Tickets