Two of Scotland’s most popular players have today confirmed their retirement from full time badminton.
For Martin Campbell and Patrick MacHugh, their performances at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will be their last in a Team Scotland shirt, bringing to an end distinguished careers for both players.
They have been mainstays of the Scotland squad in recent years, with Campbell amassing 29 international caps since 2010 and MacHugh representing his country 18 times since 2014.
But both have decided their latest Commonwealth Games experience will be their last, having helped Scotland reach the quarter-finals of the team event on the Gold Coast.
Campbell explained his decision, saying: “I have been in the senior national team squad since I was 18 and I have loved being part of it, going from one of the youngest to now sadly one of the oldest!
“I think for myself personally I felt it was the right time after reflecting on it following the Commonwealth Games.”
While Campbell took some time to make his decision after returning from the Gold Coast, MacHugh had a slightly clearer vision of his future going into the competition:
“For me, going into the Gold Coast games I knew I was going to stop my playing career and thankfully managed to end on somewhat of a high competing out in Australia” he said.
“I had reached the goals that I wanted to reach and after eight years of full time training it is time to move on - the body was definitely finding it harder to recover as well.”
During long careers which have included many highlights, both were clear on what their most memorable moments were.
“Definitely representing Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014,” said MacHugh. “With it being my first one and on home soil it made it very special and a memorable time in my life.
“Being able to represent my country has been a great privilege and along the way I have met a lot of new friends and competed against some world class names in the sport so I have been very fortunate with the opportunities.”
Campbell concurred: “I feel incredibly proud and privileged to have been able to represent my country over the years, with my highlights definitely being the Commonwealth Games, but in particular in the home games in Glasgow.”
In addition to their achievements at the Commonwealth Games, both players won national championships at junior and senior level.
Together they became men’s doubles champions at the Bulgarian International (2013), Iceland International (2014 & 2015) and Hungarian International (2015), while Campbell also won international mixed doubles titles in 2011 and 2013, as well as a Commonwealth Youth Games bronze medal in 2008.
They also performed with distinction at last year’s World Championships in Glasgow, thrilling the home crowd with an outstanding win over Dutch pair Arrends and Jille before going out to the Russian 10th seeds Ivanov and Sozonov.
It was actually Campbell’s fifth appearance in a World Championships, but on home soil he described the experience as being “pretty special to be a part of.”
Badminton Scotland President Ian Campbell paid tribute to the pair, saying: “I am so incredibly proud of what my nephew has achieved in badminton.
“He has put his heart and soul into the sport since he was a very young boy and in Paddy he found a partner with the same work ethos and determination.
“Together they formed a formidable partnership and I will miss watching them play.”
Badminton Scotland Vice President Frank Turnbull added his own tribute, saying: “I have known Martin and Patrick for nearly ten years.
“During this time, I have witnessed them playing some of the most remarkable domestic and international men’s doubles badminton, in the early years with other partners and more recently as a pairing together.
“They are remarkable role models for the younger generation and will be sadly missed by all of those who follow the Scottish Badminton scene.”
So what does the future hold? MacHugh has already started to test his entrepreneurial skills with a new business venture: “I am now moving on to a different chapter. I launched my own company in February of this year, Power Press Coffee, it is time to put my marketing degree to good use and dive into a new challenge which will throw up many more challenges I'm sure.”
For Campbell, the future is slightly less clear for now: “I’m not quite sure yet to be honest, I’m just going to take my time to consider my options. A holiday in Thailand is all I’m thinking about right now!”