This year, BWF is celebrating the 25th edition of one of the biggest tournaments in the world, the TOTAL BWF World Championships.
To celebrate, many former medal winners have been invited to this year’s edition of the Championships, including Billy Gilliland and Joanna Flockhart who were Bronze medal winners of the tournament in 1977.
the first year that the World Championships was held, in Malmo.
A big change
Joanna Flockhart has spoken about how the sport has changed for the better since she and Gilliland were players.
“It is over 40 years ago so things have changed a lot. There were no full-time players and we all had full-time jobs and fitted our training and competitions around them,” Flockhart said.
“I was still a student at Jordan Hill College, in a fairly new partnership but I had won the Scottish National Title in 1976,” Billy Gilliland said.
“We went to the first World Championships in Malmo, Sweden in 1977, unseeded and surprised a few established pairs to reach the semi-finals where we lost to Gillian Gilks & Derek Talbot,” the former doubles player added.
Flockhart will attend the TOTAL BWF World Championships this year with a host of other medallists from the past 25 tournaments, unfortunately, Gilliland is unable to attend.
“I consider it a great honour to be invited by BWF to be a guest at their 25th edition and I am looking forward to catching up with players I haven’t seen for many years,” she said.
A different sport now
Flockhart believes that the sport has grown massively and changed since the 72-year-old played in her professional career.
“I think that like all sports, the equipment has improved – I played with a wooden racket back then!
“The game is now faster and fitness and movement are much more important and all the top players are full-time athletes. It is more exciting to watch,” she continued.