KIRSTY GILMOUR proved she was back to full tournament fitness when she won her sixth consecutive women’s singles title as the Yonex Scottish National Championships reached a climax at Bell’s Sports Centre in Perth this afternoon.
The 23-year-old top seed from Bothwell repeated last year’s final victory over Julie MacPherson, this time taking just 28 minutes to win 21-11 21-7.
BADMINTONscotland’s new head coach, Malaysian Tat Meng Wong, attended all three days of the Nationals and saw the European and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Gilmour dispose of 2014 and 2015 runner-up Holly Newall in the semi-final 21-8 21-15 then proved too strong for MacPherson in the final.
The Nationals was her first tournament since the Olympics following knee surgery and she said of her return to competition: “I wouldn’t have played the Nationals if I wasn’t 100 per cent ready. It’s not just a starter tournament for me. It’s one I want to go out and win and keep on winning.
“It was really important for me to be fit for this one and I’m really glad that 17 weeks after my operation and here I am flying around the court as usual.”
Two hours later she was flying round the same court again as she and Patrick MacHugh, the only unseeded players in any of the five finals, took the mixed doubles title with a 23-21 21-16 over Martin Campbell and MacPherson.
That meant Gilmour not only matched her haul of two titles over each of the previous four years but became the first player since Rita Yuan Gao 15 years ago to hold National titles in three different events, Gilmour’s tally standing at six singles, four women’s doubles and one mixed.
MacPherson must have feared history was going to repeat itself when she finished runner-up in the singles after her three runners-up spots last year.
But she finally broke her title duck when she and Eleanor O’Donnell won the women’s doubles with a 21-19 19-21 21-16 victory over top seeds Rebekka Findlay and Caitlin Pringle in a 62-minute match. Findlay was defending champion having partnered Gilmour to victory over MacPherson and O’Donnell last year.
Glasgow’s Kieran Merrilees made it five men’s singles titles when he defeated defending champion Matthew Carder in another clash of the top two seeds.
His 21-8 21-13 victory gave him his fifth National title and made up for his disappointment of last year when he had to withdraw through injury.
Glasgow’s promising Grimley twins had been hoping for an early birthday present by reaching the men’s doubles final. But Christopher and Matthew, who are 17 tomorrow, fell in a close semi-final, beaten by top seeds Adam Hall and Alex Dunn 21-11 23-21.
But Hall could not repeat last year’s victory with Robert Blair as 2015 champions and 2016 runners-up Martin Campbell and local boy Patrick MacHugh reclaimed the crown 21-17 21-17.
MacHugh said: “It’s nice to get the title again especially on home soil for me and Martin, who is also relatively local.”
Campbell said: “Last year was probably one of our toughest losses after winning the year before. This year we were really gunning for it and we are over the moon to regain the title.”
The Derrick Roarty Award for outstanding services to badminton was presented to Steve Cummings of Dundee Nomads Badminton Club by BADMINTONscotland President Dan Travers.
(1) Kieran Merrilees (Glasgow) bt (2) Matthew Carder (South Queensferry) 21-8 21-13
(1) Kirsty Gilmour (Bothwell) bt (2) Julie MacPherson (Edinburgh) 21-11 21-7
(2) Martin Campbell (Edinburgh) & Patrick MacHugh (Kinross) bt (1) Alex Dunn (Motherwell) & Adam Hall (Mauchline) 21-17 21-17.
(2) MacPherson & Eleanor O’Donnell (Beith) bt (1) Rebekka Findlay (Erskine) & Caitlin Pringle (Giffnock) 21-19 19-21 21-16.
MacHugh & Gilmour bt (2) Campbell & MacPherson 23-21 21-16.
The Yonex Scottish National Championships were staged at Bell's Sports Centre in Perth courtesy of Perth and Kinross Council.
BADMINTONscotland were also indebted to Yonex UK, Live Active Leisure, Perth Common Good Fund, the management and staff at Bell's Sports Centre, and BADMINTONscotland Court Officials and volunteers.
Results can be viewed at http://www.tournamentsoftware.com/sport/tournament.aspx?id=30C5EDFD-1B15-4DC6-9665-E6686238EF40