BADMINTONscotland stepped up its countdown to the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 to be staged in Glasgow in August by today naming Scottish golf star Catriona Matthew MBE as the tournament’s newest Official Ambassador.
Catriona joins Scotland and Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon and Scotland and Glasgow Warriors rugby star Finn Russell as Ambassadors who are promoting the Championships and BADMINTONscotland’s Legacy programme in the build-up to the world’s best players appearing at the Emirates Arena from 21-27 August.
To mark her appointment Catriona, the 2009 British Open champion and a member of the Team GB golf squad at last year’s Rio Olympics, today joined more than 100 schoolchildren who were taking part in the latest Big Hit Festival at Tranent’s Meadowmill Sports Centre - and it brought back memories of her time as a junior badminton player before turning to golf.
Catriona, the first woman to be included in Scottish golf’s Hall of Fame, said: “It was marvellous to see first hand the enthusiasm the children showed at this latest Big Hit Festival. It’s fantastic that BADMINTONscotland are getting them involved at such a young age.
“I played a lot of badminton at school in North Berwick and went on to represent Scotland at junior international level. Perhaps the hand-eye coordination required for badminton stood me in good stead when I turned to golf. My two girls are already trying golf but at school I am sure there is a chance to do badminton as well and I will be urging them to give it a go.”
Anne Smillie, Chief Executive of BADMINTONscotland, said: “We are thrilled to have Catriona on board and, just like Craig and Finn, she has seen first hand what we are trying to achieve with our Big Hit Festivals. The ultimate aim of our World Championships Legacy Programme is to introduce more than 30,000 schoolchildren to badminton and create a sustainable legacy.
“The Big Hits also fit in well with the BWF’s global initiative Shuttle Time and, by hosting our third World Championships since 1997, this is just the opportunity we need to showcase our great sport and encourage the next generation of potential Scotland stars who can follow in the footsteps of Kirsty Gilmour, Imogen Bankier and Robert Blair.”
Councillor Archie Graham OBE, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “I can’t think of a better way to start the countdown to Glasgow 2017 than announcing Catriona Matthew as the newest ambassador for the Championships.
“She has seen for herself the positive impact of physical activity and now has first-hand experience of how much young people enjoy badminton – something which will help us with our Championship Legacy goals.
“I’d like to welcome Catriona to the Glasgow 2017 family and we look forward to working with her in the countdown to the Championships in August this year.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “It is great to have Catriona, one of this country’s finest golfers, joining the fantastic team of ambassadors for this year’s Badminton World Championships.
“As we’ve shown in recent years, Scotland is the perfect stage for sporting events, and EventScotland is proud to be supporting the Total BWF Badminton World Championships that will see the world’s finest athletes decent on Glasgow this August.”
The TOTAL BWF Badminton World Championships 2017 will be staged at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena from 21-27 August.
It is being delivered by BADMINTONscotland in partnership with Glasgow Life on behalf of Glasgow City Council and with funding support from EventScotland and UK Sport.
Tickets and general information available at www.glasgow2017.com