Kirsty Pays Heartfelt Thanks to Head Coach Ingo for Fourth Silver Success At European Championships

By RJ Mitchell / Image by Sven Heise

KIRSTY GILMOUR has paid a heartfelt thanks to the contribution of Head Coach Ingo Kindervater for laying the foundations of her silver medal success at the European Championships.

The Scottish No.1 was edged 21-11, 21-18 by Spanish legend Carolina Marin, in what was the fourth European Championship final played between the duo, which hinged on a tight second game which Kirsty threatened to take.

But reflecting on the preparation for what was her fourth European Championship silver medal, Kirsty amazingly revealed that at one stage she was so drained she didn’t feel she could compete in Saarbrucken.

Considering all of this and Ingo’s vital role in sending her to the Saarlandhalle in the best shape possible, the European Championship silver medallist revealed: “The last week has been huge for me actually. People will say: ‘Oh another silver medal’, and I’ve a few of these now at Europeans, but I hit such a wall the Tuesday before the championships that if you’d asked me if I’d wanted to play this Europeans I would have said: ‘No.’

“Everything had caught up with me. It was week 15 of the year and I had travelled for 11 of those, with a few results that didn’t go my way, club matches, back and forth and living out of a suitcase, it got to me.

“Not getting to spend any consistent time with friends, family and girlfriend all got on top of me really and I felt like I was on a rollercoaster and just wanted to get off.

“But Ingo has been excellent through this at just managing our way to this silver medal and just been so understanding. He is very big on energy management and the preparation for this tournament, well I think he weighed it up whether he should get on at me and give it: ‘Come on let’s give it one more push’ and try and really gee me up.

“But instead Ingo decided against that and I asked for last Wednesday off as a rest day, Thursday we did some skills and some feel good stuff after and then Friday we did some agility and off-court stuff and then we did three against three and four against four over one-and-a-half courts.

“That is not stereotypically the perfect preparation for a continental championship but it’s exactly what my brain needed.

“Then once we got here and me, Rachel (Sugden) and Ingo arrived pretty early on Saturday afternoon, he was just so good at guiding me in terms of when we would get into the zone and knuckle down.

“It was so much later than I would naturally have wanted to do it and I just owe so much of this week to Ingo and his clear headedness and experience to be honest.”

Seventh Silver Right Up There:

Collecting what was her seventh silver medal at a top level championship Kirsty was happy to admit that Saarbrucken 2024 is among her most treasured major moments.

The Scottish No.1 said: “I would say this is one that I’m most proud of in terms of how tough my draw was but also one of the sorest ones as I touched some of my best game and I think that it’s the closest I’ve come to taking it.

“Carolina (Marin) is on a bit of a hot streak so it was going to be a big ask but I am really happy with my level this week, really this silver is up there with the best of them.”

Tribute To Carolina:

With Marin’s victory taking her to an amazing seventh consecutive European singles championship, Kirsty was also keen to pay her great rival a fitting tribute.

The Spaniard having also recently reclaimed the All England title, Kirsty admitted she must be viewed as an all-time great and she magnanimously commented: “It’s just my luck to be born in the same year as Carolina Marin, who is one of the best to ever play the game. Great credit to Carolina, she shows up every year, despite her injuries, and to be so consistent over so many years is very impressive.

“But I love going toe-to-toe with her every time. I think there is a lot of mutual respect between us and I think I’ve scared her a few times over the years and I think she knows it will never be easy and I like taking it to her.

“I never count myself out and with the scoreline so close it’s hard not to think forward but I just really tried hard to stay in that moment and not overthink things.

“I am trying to eliminate the whole: ‘If I do this they will do that,’ as I think it gives your opponent too much credit, when in some cases not due, although in this case it is as Carolina is an incredibly smart player.

“I think she was prepared for what I was about to throw at her and credit to Carolina for all of that.”

Top Of The Form:

Looking back over a week in which she made the final without dropping a set Kirsty admitted she was pleased with where her game is and she shared: “Definitely putting back to back good, solid two set performances together in the first round, last-16, quarters, and semis against pretty high-ranked players and hold them at arm’s length and beat them convincingly was very pleasing.

“It took a lot of trust in myself and my natural game, my ability to let go of seeking perfection and just play. So I am most proud of myself that I had been talking so much about doing that and having it materialise just felt so good.”

The Perfect Blend:

Assessing what is the perfect blend for helping produce her best badminton Kirsty explained: “My movement is one of my strong points but it’s kind of that mixed with a conviction of shot that matters.

“You can move well but you can just be a chaser but I’m trying to make my movement count towards having the initiative and not just following, running down, chasing and being reactive.

“In this we have worked really hard on taking the initiative and putting my stamp on the game rather than being led anywhere.”

Strong Showing By Scottish Contingent:

With the Scottish contingent reaching a total of four quarter-finals in three disciplines in Germany, Kirsty has no doubt that the week just gone must be viewed as a success: “I think it’s been a pretty good week for the Scottish players as we had four quarter-finals which I don’t think we’ve ever achieved before and that speaks to the quality of our players currently.

“Going forward I’d love to see us get more singles representation in the latter rounds of tournaments – male or female.

“I’d also love to see the doubles players pushing on and getting more medals for us but we must have a pretty high quarter-final to population ratio for such a small country.

“So just the staff we have and the expertise around them, it takes years and could take a generation but things are really coming together and the efforts of the staff, the players, and Badminton Scotland, we are all heading towards the same thing.

“So I think that really shows and I hope the momentum will only build from this week.”

Great Experience For Debutantes:

With Rachel Sugden, Adam Pringle and Rachel Andrew all making their European Championship debut, Kirsty has no doubt there will have been a huge takeaway for her teammates and she said: “I’ve been coming to this small city in Germany for 12 years and it was nice to show some people around!” she laughed.

Kirsty added: “So it was a good week for them and great exposure and experience of just what we are up against. The two Rachel’s and Adam will have learned a lot from all of that.”