Scottish Open to inspire the next generation of stars

Some of badminton’s biggest names may be about to take Glasgow by storm but they are not the only ones in action at the Scottish Open Grand Prix.

While the likes of Kirsty Gilmour and Kieran Merrilees strut their stuff at the Emirates Arena, more than 3,000 children from across Scotland will descend on the Velodrome next door for the Big Hit Festival – one of the highlights of Badminton Scotland’s Development Programme.

Designed to inspire children to pick up a racket, Badminton Scotland’s Big Hit Festivals have proved to be a huge success – with over 7,000 youngsters taking part during the BWF World Championships.

And with demand for the sport higher than ever, another great week is expected.

“We might have the next world champion coming through the doors in the next week,” said World Championships Development Co-ordinator Duncan Grant.

“We have got our Big Hit Festival which is the initiative we are taking forward from the World Championships in August.

“We are trying to encourage as many kids as possible to take part in some badminton and train up teachers to hopefully deliver it within the schools.

“We are trying to keep kids in the sport, so we are trying to help set up clubs after schools and try and make badminton one of the mainstream sports in Scotland.”

Multiple community events are set to take place across the week, with a Homeless World Cup pencilled in for Wednesday afternoon while 50 adults and 50 children fight it out in a tournament on Saturday.

With the aim of increasing participation numbers, events like the Scottish Open Grand Prix are paramount to expanding the game.

“It is going in the right direction and all the community centres are realising how social badminton is and how accessible it is for everyone,” Grant added.

“We are seeing clubs shifting towards badminton instead of other sports, which is what we want to see.”

The Scottish Open Grand Prix is being hosted 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 online or at the Emirates Arena box office.