Danish badminton legend Peter Gade was back at the scene of some of his previous triumphs in Glasgow on day one of the 2021 Scottish Open.
Gade, 44, won five men’s singles European Championships, the 1999 All England Open and topped the men’s singles world rankings during an illustrious playing career.
Now coaching players at the Yonex Peter Gade Academy in his residence of Copenhagen following his retirement in 2012, the former champion is still contributing to the European game by guiding the next generation.
Gade won the second of his European Championship singles titles in Glasgow and is delighted to be back in the city for the 2021 Scottish Open.
“It is nice to be back here, I have really good memories of playing here and just being in Glasgow,” he said.
“The one that stands out is my first memory from playing here, the 1996 Scottish Open. That was my first successful international tournament.
“That just popped up when I arrived in the city as a really special memory. I have always enjoyed playing here.
“This Emirates Arena, where we have been on the past few occasions for this tournament, is a great stadium for badminton.
“We can’t present badminton in a better way than like this and the people are always really friendly here. It is a bit like returning home.
“Even though I’m a coach now, it is really great to be back in Glasgow.”
Gade’s men’s singles triumph at the 1996 Scottish Open kickstarted a raft of success over the next few years as he became one of the world’s top players.
He also won a mixed European team title in Glasgow back in 2000, as well as a silver medal at the 2001 World Championships in Seville.
Although no longer on court himself, he takes great pride from seeing those he coaches take part in such a historic event.
“I am here on behalf of the academy, where I coach on a daily basis, and a lot of my players are here this week,” Gade explained.
“It is really nice for me, once in a while to go to the tournaments and see how they are doing in action.
“It is great to have spectators here as well. I think that makes a huge difference to the experience.
“We have seen during covid times how it isn’t the same without fans. The feeling of the players on-court is totally different, I can tell just from watching on TV.
“Badminton is supposed to be experienced with a lot of spectators and atmosphere, which brings that extra intensity.
“I always enjoy this tournament and it is great we have been able to come back this year.”
The Scottish Open Badminton Championships is being staged at the Emirates Arena by Badminton Scotland with support from Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life, Event Scotland and Yonex. Full results are at www.tournamentsoftware.com, and tickets are on sale at https://badmintonscotland.org.uk/tickets/