Last week was a good week for Scottish badminton.
While Kirsty Gilmour was busy retaining her Scottish Open crown and Mary Wilson winning two bronze medals at the Australian Para-Badminton International, away from court a number of influential and respected figures were being honoured for their contribution to the sport.
On the evening of Friday 23 November, the achievements and contributions of Elaine Bankier, Josh Neil, Rachel Sugden and Libby Alexander were being rewarded at the Sports Council for Glasgow’s annual Awards Night, held at the City Chambers.
Bankier, who was named Technical Official of the Year, is one of Badminton’s longest serving umpires. She has been involved in officiating at local, national and international events for many years and indeed was a key member of the Technical Official team for the Scottish Open.
Libby Alexander, who was also a key member of the Scottish Open Team, was Highly Commended for her services to sport which include linejudging at various local, national and international tournaments, as well as regularly volunteering to be part of the team which organises the annual 4 Nations Para-Badminton Championships.
Josh Neil was one of Scotland’s most promising junior players but injury prematurely ended his playing career. Not to be deterred from contributing to the sport he loves, Neil turned his attention to coaching and on Friday his efforts were rewarded when he picked up the gong of Performance Development Coach of the Year.
And Rachel Sugden, one of Scotland’s current crop of promising junior talent, won the award for Outstanding Individual Achievement: International Junior, following her various exploits this year which include representing Scotland at the European Junior Championships and the World Junior Championships.