Obituary: Russell Hogg, badminton player and coach and civil servant
Born: 1 July, 1968, in Dunfermline. Died 17 September, 2012, in Dunfermline, aged 44.
Russell Hogg was one of the good guys. Capped a remarkable 117 times for his country, he went on to give just as much back to Scottish badminton.
Sadly, Russell lost his battle to cancer this month, but the fact that he still managed to play a major role at this summer’s Olympic Games in London reflected his courage, determination and love of the sport.
He spent three months working with Locog as one of a team assisting the players.
“He absolutely loved it,” said his younger brother, Bill. “Some of the players had been around in his day and just he enjoyed it so much.
“Russell was once asked what he would have done if he hadn’t been a badminton player. He said ‘unhappy’, and that really sums up his commitment to the sport.”
Born in Dunfermline, it was Harry Hogg who got both his sons involved in badminton and Russell showed great early promise during his time at St Leonard’s Primary School.
He then moved on to Dunfermline High School and was head boy during his final year.
At Dunfermline High, he stood out not only as a badminton player but also as a talented cricketer. He competed for Scotland at under-16 level and played for Fife at senior level. His skill and popularity resulted in a spell as county captain.
During his teenage years, cricket was his summer sport and badminton took over in winter. As he moved towards international level, he had to choose one or other – and the shuttlecock won.
He was a talented doubles player, and his playing career spanned 17 years. With 117 caps, he has the same number as 1986 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Dan Travers, and they lie joint third in the all-time records behind the husband-and-wife partnership of Kenny (155) and Elinor Middlemiss (137).
Russell’s years on international courts produced a huge catalogue of great memories. He competed in three Commonwealth Games and saved the best for last by helping the Scottish team win a bronze medal at the 2002 Games in Manchester. He also played in numerous world and European championships and Thomas Cup events.
The 1997 world championships, staged in front of a home crowd at Scotstoun in Glasgow, was one great highlight, while he treasured every one of his dozen Scottish National titles. Ten came in men’s doubles – eight with Kenny Middlemiss – and two in mixed doubles alongside Kirsteen McEwan (now Mrs Miller). On the world circuit, he reached a career best of No 8 in mixed doubles and No 17 in men’s doubles.
When he left school, and throughout his playing years, Russell was employed by the civil service, working for various departments, including the Ministry of Defence. Not surprisingly, he represented the civil service at badminton.
Following his retirement from international play in 2003, Russell did not take long to find a new post within the sport. Initially, he was appointed as a badminton development officer with North Ayrshire and then moved on to become a development manager with Badmintonscotland.
As a result, hundreds of Scottish youngsters have benefited from his enthusiasm.
His most recent post was as the participation manager for Disability Sport Scotland, another aspect of sport that he cared for dearly.
“This is terribly sad for Scottish badminton. Russell was a really popular figure within badminton, liked by everyone who met him,” said Badmintonscotland chief executive Anne Smillie.
“He was totally dedicated to our sport, first as a player, then in coaching, and most recently in disability sport. We will all miss him terribly.
Dan Travers, who played alongside Russell in many Scottish teams, added: “Russell’s passing leaves a huge void in the lives of everyone in our badminton community. His dedication to his sport was second to none.
“I had the pleasure of playing at the same time as Russell, albeit my career was drawing to a close as he was starting out.
“I was also team manager when he was at the peak of his game. He was a key member of the side that won the bronze medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. You couldn’t wish for a better squad member.
“He was a determined player but, off court, had a lovely, easy-going nature and a sense of humour and ability to make us laugh.”
Russell married fellow-Fifer Julie in 1994 and they had a very happy 18 years together. Naturally, she was also keen on badminton, and was an extremely talented player. They won the Gibraltar Open mixed doubles when representing the civil service.
Julie just missed out on international level as a player, but she has also maintained a huge involvement in the sport. She has acted as Scottish team coach, and Russell was so proud when she was appointed Scottish team manager for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
Russell is survived by Julie, his mother, Moira, and younger brother Bill.
The funeral will be held on Monday, 24 September at 11:30am at Dunfermline Crematorium.
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Tuesday 18 June 2013
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