By RJ Mitchell
Badminton Scotland CEO Keith Russell has hailed the 2023 Scottish Open as an undoubted success.
The 116 year-old event welcomed 236 players from around the globe and was watched by many through Badminton Europe’s live stream – BBC iPlayer also streamed the action live on Sunday.
Indeed 199 matches were played at the Emirates Arena over four days culminating in a feast of high quality Badminton on finals day.
Yet the Scottish Open is not just about high-octane match action. People from all over Scotland’s badminton community were involved in numerous engagement and development activities, as well as a coaching course and Badminton Scotland also hosted a second annual awards ceremony to recognise the outstanding contributions made by so many in our community.
Reflecting on all of this Keith shared: “I’d like to thank all the players and fans who have come along and supported the Scottish Open in 2023 and helped make it the undoubted success it has been.
“It has been a fantastic competition this year and the atmosphere has been really good providing an excellent platform for the athletes and the supporters who have come along.
“We have also been able to put on all of our development activities and really engage the wider badminton community, not just from around Glasgow but around Scotland, so I am really pleased with how the event unfolded despite the catastrophic weather we’ve had to endure!
Keith was also keen to recognise the support Badminton Scotland has had from key partners in helping make 2023 such a memorable year in the history of the world’s third oldest badminton tournament.
He said: “Obviously the Scottish Open isn’t just Badminton Scotland and we’ve had brilliant support from Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life who provide the venue and financial support for the event and without that we wouldn’t have managed to put the Scottish Open on.
“This is the first time we’ve had VICTOR as our principal sponsor at the Scottish open and they had the chance to come up to Scotland and see how good the Scottish Open is.
“I’d also like to thank Commonwealth Games Scotland who’ve given us support to help promote the event and get it on BBC iPlayer and that has been invaluable in promoting the message and the brand of Badminton Scotland.
“In essence we are putting on a show not just for spectators but our partners and everyone else and the feedback from all our stakeholders continues to rank the Scottish Open as good as any competition on the Badminton Europe circuit”
Although this year’s tournament was held in an unfamiliar October slot due to venue availability, next year is likely to see the Scottish Open return to its traditional November date.
Turning his attention to what was the second annual Badminton Scotland awards presentation, Keith has no doubt that hosting it during the Scottish Open added to greater inclusion from the nation’s badminton community.
The Badminton Scotland CEO said: “The Awards were another opportunity for us to bring everyone together from around the Scottish Badminton community and recognise those people who do all that they do for the sport and our community.
“So we had our second annual awards and the range and breadth of people who got recognition from all across the country was fantastic.
“The Scottish Open is about the event and the players but it’s also a superb opportunity to recognise all the fantastic activity going on across Scotland in our sport.”
Also present at the finals day was Badminton Scotland president Carolyn Young who herself competed in the Scottish Open Mixed Doubles back in 1995.
From this point of view our President was the perfect person to put in perspective just how important the Scottish Open is to the development of our players: “It is key for our young players development that they get that opportunity to play against different styles of play and youngsters like Iona Muir, Matthew Waring and many more, had their first experience of senior tournament play at this level in Scotland, which is invaluable,” explained Carolyn.
She continued: “The Scottish Open gives those young players the opportunity to play at International Challenge level which they may not get to experience too often on the European circuit..
“Also it provides the opportunity for them to play on home courts and test themselves against top quality International players.
“It’s great for them to get ranking points but even more important to get that vital experience and see that they are not too far away from playing at the top level in these competitions.
“We had some really good results for our upcoming players this year which is very positive for us at Badminton Scotland.”
Indeed for our President there is no doubt about the importance of the Scottish Open’s return on so many levels and Carolyn added: “Really it is just fantastic to have it back this year considering we didn’t manage to hold it last year. But it is also great for the spectators to see world class badminton in Scotland as they don’t get to enjoy it that often.
“So on so many levels the Scottish Open is important to our game and our players and I think it has been a brilliant tournament this year at a fantastic venue in the Emirates.”
Everyone at Badminton Scotland would like to express our thanks to each and every one of the many volunteers who came along across the four days, going over and above to help make the Open such a successful event. We couldn’t have done it without you all!