With the courts laid, the volunteers in place and the players ready and raring go, the countdown to the start of the 2018 Scottish Open Badminton Championships is almost over.
A world class field of more than 300 hundred athletes from 37 nations have descended on Glasgow for the third oldest badminton tournament in the world at the Emirates Arena.
Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European medallists will fight it out over five days, from November 21-25, with the tournament boasting one of the strongest line-ups in its history.
But such an event cannot take place without the hard work and dedication of the volunteers behind the scenes, who make sure the players and the thousands of spectators are accommodated for.
Roselind Hall, match control team leader, is the mother of Scotland’s very own Adam Hall and will be among those making sure everything runs smoothly during the week.
“Our job is to make sure this event runs the best possible way it can and everything is seamless behind the curtain,” she said. “We pride ourselves on making sure the show is amazing.”
Pamela Muirhead, player services team leader, has been volunteering for more than two decades and admits there is nothing like the thrill she gets from being involved in such a big event.
“Throughout the championships we’re responsible for helping to look after the players, but we also play a key role in the ceremonial team,” she explained.
“I have been volunteering with Badminton Scotland for 22 years now, I started in 1997, I was part of the media centre team, then I moved into line judging and eventually the hostessing team.
“I absolutely love this event, I get very caught up in the hustle and bustle of it, I get immersed and engorged in it and I get to meet new faces and spend time with friends I don’t see all the time.
“The Scottish Open is special because it brings together so many people with like-minded agendas, who have a love of badminton, and we get to see some of the best players.”
Susan Kelly, player services, added: “Volunteering is a great opportunity to work as part of a big team. You get to make lots of friends and I enjoy it very much, especially as I’m from Glasgow.
“The atmosphere will be great. Whenever any sporting event takes place in Scotland there is always a good atmosphere and I look forward to being part of that again this year.”
The event has gone from strength to strength in recent years as fans flock to see world-class badminton played by homegrown stars and some of the best international heavyweights.
Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour, the reigning women’s singles champion, will be among those competing this week, with England’s Toby Penty also setting his sights on back-to-back men’s singles titles.
Olympic bronze medallists Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge are the top seeds in the men’s doubles, while the women’s draw features the European gold, silver and bronze medallists.
But it’s not just the players who look forward to soaking up the atmosphere provided by the Glasgow crowd, with 24 umpires and 60 line judges working over the course of the event.
Jim Gauld, umpire and arena team assistant, said: “I always look forward to it, it’s the biggest event in the Badminton Scotland calendar, so to be local and involved in it is huge.
“It’s special being in the Emirates Arena, it’s a grand setting, and so much work goes on behind the scenes and ahead of the event - the camaraderie you build up with your colleagues is great.
“I’ve been helping with the arena team here for about ten years and we just get on with the job - the banter is good, and even the officiating side you’re making new friends from all over the world.”
Tickets are on sale now
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.
For more information contact Peter Dean on 0141 445 1218 or email firstname.lastname@example.org