England’s top players look relishing the chance to perform in Scotland

The Scottish Open has always been a happy hunting ground for England’s badminton stars over the years, with Toby Penty the latest in a long-line of success stories.

The 26-year-old clinched the men’s singles titles in impressive style in 2017 and five-time Commonwealth Games medallist Rajiv Ouseph contributed a pair of triumphs to England’s haul, with men’s singles victories in 2008 and 2011.

And the 32-year-old Londoner will be hoping to make it a hat-trick of successes when the action gets underway at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena next week.

“I think since it’s been held at the Emirates getting to the final is the best I’ve done, and I am obviously going there to win,” said Ouseph.

“I am seeded fourth and that means there will be some tough matches for me. I am going to take it one match at a time, but hopefully I can get as far as I can.

“We played the Commonwealth Games there in 2014 and for me the event is always really well run and a great venue.

“I have good and bad memories from the Commonwealths as I won a mixed team silver, but I lost in the bronze play-off match. I still look back fondly, and I enjoy every time I go back.

“For us to have a high-quality tournament close to home, it’s really appealing for us to play at the Scottish Open.”

While the doubles has also proved a particularly fruitful area of competition for duos from England, it is six years since Marcus Ellis and Gabby Adcock took first place in the mixed doubles.

And Ellis, who also claimed victory in the men’s doubles alongside Peter Mills in 2010, is hoping to end that barren run in the doubles at the Emirate Arena this year.

In the intervening years, the 29-year-old has claimed bronze at Rio 2016 and Commonwealth Games gold earlier this year on the Gold Coast alongside Chris Langridge.

But while the number one seeds are determined to take the title in Glasgow, they are also relishing the chance to play in front of a welcoming Scottish crowd.

“Anywhere in Britain, wherever we go – no matter what level of tournament it is – it does feel a little bit more special, because it does feel as if you’re at home,” Ellis said.

“The crowd are always on your side, which does make a big difference – it does create a little bit of pressure, but also, it’s really nice for everyone to be behind you.

“I think the Scottish Open has always been a very respected tournament. It feels like it’s gone from strength to strength.

“For us it’s just down the road, so no matter what standard – you’ll get our top players, some of our junior players travelling up – it’s a great opportunity to perform at a really good tournament.”

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The Scottish Open Badminton Championships are being staged at the Emirates Arena by Badminton Scotland with support from Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.