Kirsty Gilmour’s hopes of a European Championships gold medal were dashed in Kolding this afternoon when she lost in the final for the second year running to Olympic and double World champion Carolina Marin.
Gilmour went into the final saying she had a plan but sadly it wasn’t enough to win as Marin made it a hat-trick of European titles with a 21-14 21-12 victory in 43 minutes compared to last year’s 21-12 21-18 triumph.
She was always in control of the opening game after winning the first four points and steadily building a lead.
In the second game Marin took a 3-0 lead before Gilmour caught up at 4-4. But the left-hander edged away again and built a five point advantage to lead 11-6 at the mid-game interval.
But Gilmour made a good fist of matching Marin and there were some high-quality rallies, even though most of them went Marin’s way despite taking a nasty tumble as Gilmour made it 13-8.
But Marin survived the scare to move to 16-8 before a trademark Gilmour dive produced a winner followed by a cross-court winner to make it 16-10
Gilmour may be disappointed at not winning gold against a player who has only lost to her once in seven meetings but after her long lay-off following knee surgery she can be well satisfied with the progress she has made since returning to action at the Yonex Scottish Nationals in Perth in February.
Now she can look forward to spearheading Scotland’s team challenge at next month’s Sudirman Cup before focusing on the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 in her home city of Glasgow in August.
That is also a key date for Marin, who will be bidding to build on her European hat-trick with a World Championships title treble.
Gilmour celebrated on the podium with one of her favoured selfies, only to suddenly realise that Sabrina Jaquet had her medal and Kirsty had the Swiss player’s bronze.
She pulled it off her neck, handed her the bronze and took her selfie.
Of the match she said: “I never doubted it would be tough. I obviously had my plan and knew what to do but it is hard to stick to that all the way through her massive wave of power.
“I am obviously disappointed about losing this match but still feel I have moved closer to her since last year’s final.
“I see small pockets of possibilities in her game. The challenge is to have and keep the discipline and physical strength throughout a full match to take advantage from those possibilities.
“In general I am satisfied with the tournament. I wasn’t sure I would be seeded at all but ended up seventh and in the opposite half from Marin. I am happy to have used that position the best possible way.”
Anne Smillie, Chief Executive of BADMINTONscotland, said: “Congratulations to Kirsty on another silver medal. There is no disgrace in coming second to Carolina Marin, especially as Kirsty only returned to action at the start of February following her long injury lay-off.”
Three of Gilmour’s GB team-mates were also in finals day action this afternoon.
Rajiv Ouseph faced Denmark’s Anders Antonsen in the men’s singles final and after previously winning bronze in 2010 and 2016 and silver in 2014 he finally won European gold with a 21-19 21-19 victory against the Dane who knocked out defending champion Viktor Axelsen yesterday. The result was made all the more impressive by the fact that two of his former England coaches, Kenneth Jonassen and Jakob Hoi, were in the Danish camp.
Chris and Gabby Adcock were up against old rivals Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen in the mixed doubles as they tried to stop a Danish clean sweep of the doubles events.
They took the first game 21-17 only for the defending champions to hit back and take the second 21-18. But the Adcocks came out on top in a thrilling decider winning the third game 21-19.
So two gold medals for England and a silver for Scotland despite the recent GB funding cuts.
Ms Smillie added: ““Well done, too, to Rajiv Ouseph and Chris and Gabby Adcock on their golds. We’ll look forward to seeing all three of them in action at the Worlds.”
Carsten Mogensen and Mathias Boe regained their men’s doubles title by beating defending champions Mads Conrad-Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding while Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl retained their women’s doubles by beating the Stoeva sisters. It was their fourth title together and Rytter Juhl’s fifth.
All those players can also expect to feature in Glasgow in August.
Full results at www.tournamentsoftware.com