Posted on 1st February 2023
By RJ Mitchell
EIGHT-TIME Scottish women’s badminton champion Kirsty Gilmour has been side-lined from this weekend’s National Championships at Scotstoun due to a back injury.
The World No.17 suffered the injury in training yesterday and it would appear to be a reoccurrence of the issue which almost forced the 29-year-old to scratch from the Commonwealth Games last year.
At the time the Scottish No.1 women bounced back to confound her frailty and make a glory run to the semi -finals where she had a match-point against Canada’s Michelle Li before suffering an agonising three-game loss with a premium medal insight.
Yet in November Gilmour’s participation at the Hylo Open in Saarbrucken was ended prematurely when a hip flexor injury forced her to retire in her second-round match with India’s Malvika Bansod at the HSBC BWF World Tour Super 300 tournament.
Again the Bellshill born ace returned to compete strongly on the recent BWF Far East swing and now the withdrawal of the three-times European Championship silver medallist is very much a precautionary measure to ensure Gilmour’s Olympic selection is not jeopardised.
As Badminton Scotland’s Head of Performance Ingo Kindervater confirmed: “We hoped to have all of our elite players competing this weekend at Scotstoun but unfortunately Kirsty has had to scratch due to injury. She tweaked her back at training and unfortunately she won’t make it this weekend.
“The idea is to not to make it worse than it is. Just before the Commonwealth Games last summer, in fact the second last preparation week, Kirsty tweaked her back.
“This time it is also in a similar spot so there is an extra warning light going on and right now she is receiving intensive physio.
“At the moment she can do some conditioning on the bike but on court she can only hit from a static position.
“So, we just don’t want to take any risks on it and then allowing the injury to become a super serious issue especially with Olympic qualification not far away.”
Rebecca Reid has now replaced Gilmour in the top-half of the draw while defending champion Rachel Sugden will be favourite to win her third consecutive Scottish Women’s Singles championship despite tough opposition from Lauren Middleton and Basia Grodynska.
Yet Kindervater also admits that the loss of a sought after opportunity to gain a rare crack at Gilmour within the intensity of a Scottish National Championship will be a disappointment to both seeded and emerging players.
He said: “It is usually the event where some of the younger players get the chance to play against our top internationally ranked players and I know that will be disappointing for a lot of the girls in the draw as it is an opportunity to learn so much.
“While it is also a chance for those just behind Kirsty in our rankings, like Rachel, Lauren, Basia, Toni Woods and Sophie Ford to really test themselves against her at a Nationals event.
“Of course they share a court in training but that is not the same as facing each other across the net in a Scottish Nationals Championship.
“A lot of the time on the international circuit Kirsty doesn’t enter the same tournaments as the other girls so this opportunity to play against her is something these girls have been really looking forward too and it is very unfortunate for both Kirsty and the others in this respect and particularly this will be a disappointment for Rachel.
“That said it also means that the opportunity to become Scottish champion, and in terms of Rachel that would mean a third consecutive Scottish Championship, is much stronger.
“So I am sure the girls will be viewing this as a huge chance while of course sharing sympathy towards Kirsty for whom this has been most unfortunate.
“In this respect I am still very much looking forward to some fine badminton in the women’s singles from Friday.”
Kindervater added: “The Scottish National Championships are one of the biggest events we do from a Badminton Scotland perspective in Scotland itself.
“Obviously we did the European Mixed Team Qualifiers at Scotstoun in December and we have many domestic tournaments but the Nationals certainly occupy a very important part of our calendar and rightly so and it is a weekend I always look forward to immensely.”