I’ve been playing Badminton pretty much since I could walk – the zenith of my ‘career’ came when I played in the Scottish Championships – so I was delighted to hear Glasgow is hosting the TOTAL BWF Badminton World Championships 2017. The great hope that the 2014 Commonwealth Games would leave a lasting sporting legacy for Scotland and Glasgow have been realised. This impressive legacy will continue apace in August 2017, when Scotland’s largest city hosts this world-class sporting extravaganza.
Glasgow – A Great Sporting City
Glasgow is not only renowned for its friendliness – Rough Guides recently rated it as the world’s friendliest city. It is also heralded as one of the top sporting cities on the globe. When it comes to hosting events, it snared fifth place at the prestigious 2016 SportBusiness Ultimate Sport City Awards, putting it ahead of Los Angeles, Tokyo, Sydney and Paris. Glasgow was also named Best Small City by population, brushing off competition from the likes of Calgary, Doha and Vancouver.
Building on the accomplishments of the massively successful 2014 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow has successfully delivered the FIG World Gymnastics Championships, the IPC Swimming World Championships and two deeply dramatic Davis Cup tennis ties.
Scotland’s Badminton Ties
Glasgow is a fitting host of the TOTAL BWF Badminton World Championships, given Scotland’s strong ties with the sport. Glasgow staged the Sudirman Cup World Team Championships in 1997 and 2007, in addition to multiple European Championships, and the annual Scottish Open Grand Prix. Glasgow also hosted the individual World Championships in 1997. A tournament which saw Denmark’s Peter Rasmussen, Europe’s last men’s singles World Champion, triumph in the longest final in history. With the return of the TOTAL BWF World Championships, Glasgow joins Copenhagen, Jakarta and Birmingham as one of the few cities to have hosted the individual World Championships more than once.
Scotland’s Badminton Greats
As a child – playing for the JABS (Junior Advanced Badminton Squad) in West Lothian – I was lucky enough to play against some of Scotland’s hottest talent, including the mercurial Scottish champion Craig Robertson. I remember fondly Scotland’s stellar performance at the Commonwealth Games in 1986, when home heroes Billy Gilliland and Dan Travers won the men’s doubles. At the 2014 Commonwealth Games it was Kirsty Gilmour‘s turn to win a glorious Silver. Robert Blair and Imogen Bankier, meanwhile, secured Bronze medals in the mixed doubles.
A World-Class Sporting Venue
The setting for those 2014 victories was the spectacular Emirates Arena – a world-class sporting venue that is ideal for badminton. This colossal indoor stadium accommodated a crowd of 5,000 spectators during the 2014 Commonwealth Games, when it had 12 badminton courts laid out across three indoor sports halls. In 2015 the Great Britain Davis Cup team tackled both the United States and Australia here, with local hero Andy Murray at the fore. Then the arena’s capacity was expanded to 8,200 for the semi-final match, in order to comply with Davis Cup regulations. Great Britain returned here for the 2016 Davis Cup semi-finals.
Badminton’s Most Prestigious Tournament
I much prefer the even faster pace, and constant action, of badminton. I’ll be at the arena from August 21-27 when the TOTAL BWF Badminton World Championships rolls into town. The Championships are regarded as the most prestigious tournament in the sport. Even more greatly prized than the Olympic Games, they have a stronger overall entry and bigger draws in all events.
The tournament comprises five events: the men’s and women’s singles, the men’s and women’s doubles and the mixed doubles. Nations from around the globe enter their players through the world ranking qualification system. This ensures that the best players on the planet will be starring in Glasgow’s dramatic event.
Stars to look out for include World No.1 Lee Chong Wei from Malaysia – having won silver three times at the Champs, Lee claims he is motivated for a gold in Glasgow! Joining him in men’s singles will be Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, who won Bronze at Rio and is currently World No.2. In the women’s singles look out for Carolina Marin of Spain, who won the last two World Championships and a Gold at Rio 2016. One of her biggest challengers will be P V Sindhu, who snared Bronze at Glasgow 2014 and Silver in Rio. Home golden-girl Kirsty Gilmour is another contender. She followed up her Glasgow Commonwealth Silver with Silvers at the European Championships in 2016 and 2017.
Other stars include Team GB’s Chris and Gabby Adcock in the mixed doubles, while fellow Brits Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge have high hopes in the men’s doubles after winning Bronze in Rio. There will be plenty of British players to cheer on, hopefully right into the medal rounds.
Heading to the Emirates Arena this August will let you enjoy one of the sporting world’s great events. Badminton is a brilliant spectator sport, with lightning fast-paced action and constant excitement. I’ll be hoping the local favourites do better than I did on my single Scottish Championships appearance. I went out in the first round!
TOTAL BWF Badminton World Cup, Emirates Arena, Glasgow, 21-27 August 2017
For more information and tickets visit www.glasgow2017.com
* This blog comes in association with TOTAL BWF Badminton World Championships 2017
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