Kieran Merrilees today confirmed his retirement from full time professional badminton.
He has been by far Scotland’s best male singles player over the last decade and his announcement comes just over a week after he claimed the men’s singles title at the Yonex Scottish National Championships.
Merrilees stopped training full time after representing Scotland at last year’s Commonwealth Games and since then he has been focussing more on coaching and developing young players than on training and competing himself.
But he showed his undoubted talent once again last week in the ruthless defence of his title, winning the men’s singles for the third time in a row and seventh time overall.
Speaking today he said: “It was always a proud moment for me to represent Scotland. To be part of teams that beat Germany and Russia was incredible and contributing important men’s singles victories in both ties are great memories.
“Top level sport is very unforgiving and I’ve learned the hard way with many setbacks, injuries and disappointments in my career.
“I know I’m not the most decorated Scottish player in terms of medals but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved in an incredibly hard era in men’s singles.”
Merrilees has been a mainstay of Scotland teams in international competition since 2007.
He has earned 46 Scotland caps covering three Commonwealth Games (Delhi, Glasgow and Gold Coast), two Sudirman Cups and numerous European Championships.
In addition to his seven national men’s singles titles Merrilees also contested numerous finals in international competition, winning titles in Poland, Wales and Slovenia.
In 2007 he became an Olympian when he represented Team GB at the Youth Olympics in Sydney.
Badminton Scotland CEO Keith Russell paid tribute to Merrilees saying: “Kieran has been our best men’s singles player for a number of years and I would like to thank him for the contribution he has made.
“Although he is retiring from competitive action, I have no doubt he will continue to be involved with badminton in Scotland through his coaching and development activities and I am sure he will continue to be a fantastic role model for the younger players to emulate.”