Scotland arrives in Portugal today as the team makes its final preparations for the qualification stages of the European Mixed Team Championships, being held at the High-Performance Sports Centre in Caldas Da Rainha from 9-12 December.
The Scots have been drawn in Group 6 and will face Portugal, Ukraine, Latvia and Spain as they attempt to qualify for the finals, which will be played in Finland from 16-20 February 2021.
The squad was dealt another blow late last week as Eleanor O’Donnell withdrew due to injury, following Alex Dunn’s withdrawal earlier in the week.
But although both Dunn and O’Donnell will certainly be missed, Scotland’s growing strength in depth means Head Coach Ingo Kindervater has been able to call up two replacements who are more than capable of making their mark at this level in Ciar Pringle and Holly Newall.
Both players have positive recent experiences in Caldas Da Rainha to draw inspiration from and the squad can go into action in confident frame of mind, with numerous good performances and title wins in the last few weeks.
Pringle put together a series of good men’s singles wins at the Portuguese International last month in his first competitive outing since his own injury induced lay-off, while Newall won the women’s doubles.
In addition to Newall’s women’s doubles win, Chris Grimley took the top step of the podium in the mixed doubles and narrowly missed out on a second gold medal, finishing as runner up in the men’s doubles.
And Scotland’s most experienced player, Kirsty Gilmour, won the SaarLorLux Open last month, beating reigning Olympic and three-time World Champion Carolina Marin in straight games on her way to winning the title amongst a series of impressive performances.
Gilmour will not come up against Marin in Portugal this week, as the world number 6 has withdrawn due to injury, but Gilmour’s form will be vital to Scotland’s chances of winning Group 6 and qualifying for the finals.
Scotland face hosts Portugal in their opening match tomorrow morning before playing Ukraine later in the afternoon.
Latvia provide the opposition for the Scots on 11 December before they complete their campaign against Spain on December 12.
You can watch live streaming of the event here: https://www.badmintoneurope.tv/en-int/page/emtcq-2021
The full team is:
Joshua Apiliga, 19, Glasgow, 0 international caps
Kirsty Gilmour, 27, Glasgow, 43 caps
Chris Grimley, 20, Glasgow, 3 caps
Adam Hall, 24, Mauchline, 13 caps
Julie MacPherson, 23, Edinburgh, 20 caps
Holly Newall, 22, Mauchline, 7 caps
Ciar Pringle, 21, Giffnock, 0 caps
Ciara Torrance, 21, Paisley, 6 caps