February

Scotland's Top Players Training in Thailand

Scotland’s best will spend the next two weeks taking on Thailand as eight players and two coaches have made the trip east for a training camp.

 

Barely had the rackets been put away after the weekend’s Yonex Scottish National Championships than many of the finalists were on a plane to Bangkok.

 

Training with the Thai national squad – including players such as women’s world number three Ratchanok Intanon – the visiting Scots will spend a fortnight learning from some of the best in the world.

 

With the Commonwealth Games rapidly approaching on the horizon and key international tournaments preceding it, the players are hoping to use the trip to fine tune their games ahead of a one of the busiest periods of the year.

 

“This training period will stand me in really good stead.

 

The quality of their ladies’ singles players is really quite high – I think they’ve got four in the world’s top 25,” said Kirsty Gilmour, who travelled on Monday having won a seventh consecutive national women’s singles title the day before.

 

“So to be in that environment, I’m going to relish that opportunity, it’s going to be a really good two weeks.”

 

Joining Gilmour in Thailand are fellow 2018 Scottish champions Kieran Merrilees, Adam Hall, Alex Dunn, Julie MacPherson and Eleanor O’Donnell.

 

And six-time champion Merrilees is hoping to learn a few new things from their Thai sparring partners.

 

“It will be a really good experience,” he said.

 

“The Asian players are really good, so to be able to go out there and see what it’s like in their environment will give us a few ideas for when we come back to Scotland – I’m looking forward to it.”

 

Coaches Tat Meng Wong and Andy Bowman have also made the trip, along with finalists from the weekend Patrick MacHugh and Martin Campbell.

 

With MacHugh wanting to use the experience to hone his skills ahead of potential selection for the Commonwealth Games.

 

“It should be good. It’ll be nice to train against some different people and it’s a bit of a hotter climate as well so it will just be something a bit different for us,” said the national men’s doubles runner-up.

 

“We want to get that good training block in place ahead of the Austria and German Opens – then hopefully the Commonwealth Games.”

 

While two-time Scottish women’s doubles champion MacPherson – who also won the Iceland International with O’Donnell the previous week for their first international series title – is looking forward to a training block after a busy period of competition.

 

“It’s come around so quickly.

 

We’ve had such a busy month leading up to the Commonwealth Games, it’s just been non-stop,” she said.

 

O’Donnell added: “I’m definitely looking forward to it. It’s going to be different but I think everyone is looking forward to it, being in a different environment, hitting with different players.”