April

Gilmour drawn in same half as Nehwal at Commonwealth Games

Kirsty Gilmour has been seeded fourth for the women’s singles competition on the Gold Coast and placed in the same half of the draw as second seed Saina Nehwal of India.

The Bellshill-born player has received an opening round bye and will get her campaign underway against either Jamaican teenager Alana Bailey or Aurelie Marie Elise Allet of Mauritius.

Provided Gilmour can successfully navigate her way through the first three ties she could potentially meet Nehwal in the semi-final but she is taking nothing for granted, with her sights firmly set on navigating the early rounds and focussing on each match in turn.

“I couldn’t have hoped for much more. I’m going in with the mind-set that it’s going to be a game at a time, every time. I’m not going to look too much ahead.

“Of course I’ve looked at the draw as a whole but it’s going to be one hundred percent into the first game and then try to build some good momentum for the later stages.

“I’m going to be very much living in the moment for each match, not taking anything for granted and planning to be quite business-like about things.”

If Scotland's number one does indeed meet Nehwal in the semi-final she can take heart from their latest battle which came in the quarter-final of last year's World Championships in Glasgow where she was just two points away from beating the Indian shuttler.

In the end Gilmour succumbed to an agonising 21-19 18-21 21-15 defeat but her performance showed that she is more than capable of causing an upset to the seedings in Australia.

In the other half of the draw, Olympic and World silver medallist PV Sindhu, who has the honour of being India's flagbearer during the opening ceremony, could meet reigning Commonwealth champion Michelle Li in the last four if the competition unfolds according to seeding.

Men’s singles seventh seed Kieran Merrilees is seeded for a quarter-final clash with badminton legend Lee Chong Wei, a three-time Olympic silver medal winner and Commonwealth champion in 2006 and 2010.

But before the 28-year-old from Kelvindale can think about taking on the Malaysian superstar he must first focus on his opening match, where he has been dealt a particularly tricky task.

Having received a first round bye, Merrilees will begin his third Commonwealth Games in the round of 32 against either Bongani von Bodenstein of South Africa or Singapore’s Kean Yew Loh and he is under no illusions about the difficulty his potential opponent could cause.

“It’s going to be tough. In round one I’m starting against a guy from Singapore who looks pretty good from the results I’ve seen and then Lee Chong Wei is the player the winner of us will be likely to meet, so it’s going to be tough but I’m looking forward to it.

“In the world championships I had Lin Dan in the first round. I was very nervous and I let it affect my game but I’ve learned a lot from that.

“Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei are probably the two best players of all time but I’ve got to try and put that to one side.

“To be honest I’m not looking past the first game at the moment. Men’s singles is such a hard event that I’m going to have to be on it from round one.

“I have the team event first where I should be getting some really hard games against India which will help me get ready for the individuals.”

In the men’s doubles Alex Dunn and Adam Hall will take on Kervin Ghislain and Steve Malcouzane from the Seychelles in the first round and could meet top seeds and defending champions Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong as early as the quarter-finals.

In the opposite half of the draw, Patrick MacHugh and Martin Campbell are set to meet Ghanian duo Abraham Ayittey and Michael Opoku Baah in the round of 32 for the right to play fourth seeds Jason Ho-Shue and Nyl Yakura of Canada.

On seeing the draw, MacHugh was in a positive frame of mind: “The draw was too small to have eight seeds and we were hoping to be seventh seeds, so we missed out on that but our first round is quite good, playing people from Ghana.

“Then we go on to hopefully play the Canadian fourth seeds which is probably the best seeds we could look to play to be honest, so I think we are in with a chance of getting through.

“We haven’t looked much past that. One game at a time is the strategy.”

Meanwhile, in the women’s doubles, if Eleanor O’Donnell and Julie MacPherson can beat Seychelles shuttlers Juliette Ah-Wan and Allisen Camille in the round of 32 they will play English No.3 seeds Lauren Smith and Sarah Walker.

MacPherson will team up with Campbell in the mixed doubles competition, and take on Pakistan pair Murad Ali and Mahoor Shahzad, with the winner to meet Smith and Marcus Ellis, the English third seeds.

Dunn and O’Donnell, meanwhile, will open against Mercy Joseph and Victor Munga of Kenya.

The badminton competition is being held from 5-15 April at the Carrara Sports Arena.

The team event will be played from 5-9 April with the individual events getting underway on April 10.