With the Scottish Open Badminton Championships about to get underway at the Emirates Arena, a world class field of more than 300 athletes from all over the planet have been arriving in Scotland.
A host of Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European medallists will compete in Glasgow from 21-25 November with the competition boasting one of the strongest line-ups it has ever had.
Scotland’s own reigning women’s singles champion, Kirsty Gilmour, faces a challenge to retain her title from two in-form Chinese players in the draw and 2015 winner, Line Kjaersfeldt of Denmark.
China’s 18-year-old sensation Cai Yanyan is ranked among to the top 20 players in the world and arrives at the tournament having already won two international events in 2018, while Chen Xiaoxin has consistently been competing at the business end of tournaments this term.
Gilmour, who won her first Scottish Open title last year, said: “The two Chinese players that have entered – and indeed Line [Kjaersfeldt] – have been having a really strong past couple of months so it’s going to be tough.
“It’s surprising to see the Chinese pair in Glasgow but I think that speaks to the quality of the Scottish Open and what a good event we put on – that it attracts such high-quality players.”
In the men’s singles, second seeded Frenchman Brice Leverdez will start as favourite after top seed Rasmus Gemke withdrew due to illness while home fans will be hoping some of the young Scots can battle through qualifying to join Matthew Carder in the main draw.
The women’s doubles could be the most competitive event of all as the reigning champions Selena Piek and Cheryl Seinen look to defend their title against a pair ranked in the top ten (Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva) and current European silver medallists Emilie Lefel and Anne Tran.
Commonwealth Gold and Olympic bronze medallists, Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge will enter the men’s doubles as the top seeds providing a tough first round test for Scottish pair, Ciar Pringle and Jack MacGregor.
“It’s special to compete in your home country with lots of fans in the arena and I’ll have lots of friends coming to watch,” Pringle said.
“I’ve got lots of friends who play badminton but also friends from university who are keen to see how I am getting on.”
Meanwhile, Eleanor O’Donnell and Alex Dunn could face a tough test against reigning champions Piek and Jacco Arends in the mixed doubles if they overcome their first-round tie against a pair from qualifying.
Hosted once again at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena, the Scottish Open has gone from strength to strength in recent years, attracting current and future stars of the sport.
From 21-25 November, fans will witness world-class badminton as homegrown stars, who enjoyed so much success at the 2017 tournament, take on some of very best international talents.
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The Scottish Open Badminton Championships are being staged at the Emirates Arena by Badminton Scotland with support from Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.