BADMINTON players from all corners of the globe will once again descend on Glasgow next month as the Scottish Open Grand Prix gets underway at the Emirates Arena.
More than 300 players from 37 nations have entered and with competitors coming from as far as China, Malaysia, Australia, Russia and Brazil, this year’s tournament will be a truly global event as Scotland looks to capitalise on the phenomenal success of this summer’s TOTAL BWF World Championships.
The Scottish Open Grand Prix will take place from November 22-26, with European and Commonwealth silver medallist Kirsty Gilmour leading the home contingent as she looks to make it third time lucky after finishing as runner-up on two occasions.
Her main challengers for the women’s singles title come in the form of Spain’s Beatriz Corrales and Sabrina Jaquet of Switzerland – Jaquet was runner-up in last year's Scottish Open but Gilmour has a good record against the Swiss, having beaten her in the semi-finals at this year’s European Championships and in the group stages of last year's Olympic Games.
Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt reached the last four at the Emirates Arena last year and will be eager to go one better this time round, with England’s Fontaine Wright looking to impress on British turf.
In the men’s singles, European champion and Olympic quarter-finalist Rajiv Ouseph heads up the entries as he chases his third Scottish Open title.
The Englishman won in Glasgow in 2008 and 2011, but Scotland’s Kieran Merrilees and Matt Carder will be keen to shine in front of a bumper home crowd while Ben Torrance and Christopher and Matthew Grimley will be hoping to fight their way through the qualifying event to reach the main draw.
No Scot has won the men’s singles title since 1968, with 2016 semi-finalist Fabian Roth of Germany and Denmark’s Emil Holst also set to challenge for the top prize.
Olympic bronze medallists Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis will spearhead the battle for the top of the podium in the men’s doubles, with Ellis a previous winner in 2010 alongside Peter Mills.
Martin Campbell and Patrick MacHugh will lead the Scottish charge in the event alongside Alex Dunn and Adam Hall and the Grimley brothers. Jack MacGregor and Ciar Pringle and Danny Leinster and Steven Stewart will attempt to qualify for the main draw.
Last year’s semi-finalists Jelle Maas and Robin Tabeling of the Netherlands return for another tilt at the title, but keep an eye out for England’s Peter Briggs and Tom Wolfenden, who won the YONEX Canada Open crown earlier this year.
Not since 2009 has a Russian pair won the women’s doubles title in Glasgow but Olga Morozova and Anastasia Chervyakova will be looking to change just that as they head up the entries.
England's Lauren Smith and Sarah Walker could prove key in preventing that as they look to improve on 2016’s semi-final finish, as will Julie Finne-Ipsen and Rikke Søby.
Julie MacPherson and Eleanor O’Donnell will fly the flag for Scotland, as well as Basia Grodynska alongside England’s Emily Robinson. Scotland also have players in the qualifying competition in the form of Lauren Middleton and Sarah Sidebottom, Holly Newall and Ciara Torrance and Toni Woods, who partners Sweden’s Emma Thorne.
In the mixed doubles, Ireland’s Sam and Chloe Magee top the entries list but England’s Ellis and Smith will be looking to go all the way in Glasgow after their recent YONEX Dutch Open success. Ellis was triumphant in the mixed doubles back in 2012 alongside Gabby Adcock.
Watch out for their fellow compatriots Ben Lane and Jess Pugh who could also pose a threat, with Campbell and MacPherson keen to thrill on familiar soil.
Ronan Labar and Audrey Fontaine will look to become the first ever French champions in the event, while Dutch duo Selena Piek and Jacco Arends, as well as Bastian Kersaudy and Lea Palermo of France, are also among the challengers.
Grodynska will also be representing the home nation in the mixed doubles, this time alongside Australia’s Huaidong Tang, while Dunn and O’Donnell, Hall and Torrance, and Ciar Pringle and his older sister Caitlin will start in the qualifying draw.
Anne Smillie, chief executive of BADMINTONscotland, said: “We are delighted to be hosting such a strong international field in Glasgow for this year’s Scottish Open Grand Prix.
“Following the triumph of the TOTAL BWF World Championships in August, I am confident we will witness even more world-class badminton at the Emirates Arena.
“I know Glasgow will welcome every single player with open arms and we can’t wait for the action to begin.”
Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “The Scottish Open Grand Prix is one of the main highlights in the Glasgow sporting calendar and one which the people of the city look forward to each year.
“I’m sure the TOTAL BWF Badminton World Championships will have created hundreds of new badminton fans in Glasgow who will come along to Emirates Arena this November to catch some of the best badminton action in the country.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “It is great to see so many athletes from around the world returning to the Emirates Arena for the Scottish Open Grand Prix after the success of the TOTAL BWF World Championships. It is testament to BADMINTONscotland’s organisation of fantastic tournaments and shows why Scotland is the perfect stage for events. EventScotland is delighted to again be supporting them as they deliver another great event.”
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