In August, we welcomed our new chairperson, Kevin Scott, who will help to oversee strategy over the next 4-year cycle, including the transformation of our membership and build on the diversity and inclusion within our sport.
Now that Kevin has had a short while to settle in, we caught up with him to chat about all things badminton!
Badminton roots and beginnings
Kevin grew up in Edinburgh and moved away from Scotland after getting the opportunity to train for badminton in England (in Surrey and Wimbledon). He attended University in Surrey, but returned to Scotland regularly to see family and play in tournaments.
When reminiscing about this time, Kevin tells us: “I was fortunate to win National titles in singles and represent Scotland all over the World in Commonwealth Games, World Championships, Thomas Cup and European Championships – those are great memories and I am especially lucky still to have many friends from that time”.
Kevin admits he stopped playing competitively a bit earlier than he would have liked when presented with a career opportunity in Finance (that required him to travel overseas), as well as to spend more time with his young family.
Natural progression and career development
Kevin went on to reach Executive Director and board level in the Fund Management Industry and worked with teams across Europe, UK, UAE and Asia during a twenty plus year period.
However, hanging up his racket never meant Kevin’s passion for badminton went away… in 2011, he was elected Director for Badminton Europe (from 2011- 2017) and tells us it was great to have some involvement back in the world of international badminton at this time!
Focusing on Badminton Scotland
On his appointment of Chair of Badminton Scotland, Kevin tells us: “I am now delighted to have been selected as Chair for Badminton Scotland and I am really looking forward to working with the CEO, Board members and the wider team in trying to progress the fast-evolving game that we all love”.
Equality, diversity and inclusion is a key focus and commitment of ours, and while badminton is already a very inclusive sport played by all communities across Scotland, Kevin says: “We understand that there is a need to do more for our sport to continue to be recognised as one that is inclusive and diverse so that we can provide opportunities for all. The Board, Executive and wider team will play a central part to ensure that we deliver on this as an organisation and a sport”.
When discussing other important areas of development and focus, Kevin says: “The key areas for the Executive and the Board to focus on are varied, but they also include membership, participation in schools, grass roots, clubs and thus bringing all parts of our sport together. Financial stability and maintaining the excellent Elite level that we presently enjoy is also key”.
When thinking specifically about membership, and how import it is to the transformation of badminton in Scotland, Kevin tells us: “The membership is a key priority that our many dedicated coaches and RDO’s will continue to focus on. Whether for social, recreation or competition, badminton has so much to offer. We have an exceptional Elite level in the senior national squad at this time and our clubs, schools and grass roots are pivotal to maintaining that continuity long term”.
Looking ahead: The Scottish Open
With The Scottish Open Badminton Championships returning after an absence of two years at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena from 5 – 8 October 2023, excitement among fans, players, staff and volunteers is building within the community.
The prestigious tournament was first played in 1907 and is widely considered to be one of the best events on the sport’s European circuit. In addition to representing the highpoint of Badminton Scotland’s annual tournament calendar, the prestigious competition – the world’s third oldest badminton tournament – will act as a qualifier for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Kevin is very much on board and looking forward to the event and he comments: “There are many aspects to look forward to including welcoming players and officials from many countries and to seeing the Scottish players in action against leading international competition. The development activities for young and aspiring badminton players is exciting, with the addition of sessions for development coaches which will also be very good to see. We very much look forward to upholding and building on the reputation Scotland already has for hosting events”.