Egelstaff reaping rewards of hard work

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SUSAN Egelstaff knows how to overcome adversity. Dropped from the GB badminton squad and then struck down by a serious knee injury, her road to London 2012 could hardly have been rockier.

But the 29-year-old was back to her effervescent best yesterday as she shared a stage with fellow Glaswegian Imogen Bankier, both proudly wearing their 2012 Olympic athlete T-shirts. The two Scots were at the National Badminton Centre in Scotstoun interrupting yet another hard training session to spend some time with local school children.

“It’s great that it has all worked out,” said Egelstaff, who was dropped from the GB training when she refused to base herself at the National Centre in Milton Keynes. “Everything that has happened to me has justified my decision to stay in Scotland.

“Yvette [Yun Luo] has been a great coach and the treatment I had after the knee injury last September was second to none. Gordon Mackay carried out the operation and the help I received from so many people associated with the Scottish Institute of Sport and sportscotland could not have been matched down south.

“I must admit that when I heard I needed an operation I never really thought that my chance had gone to make Team GB. But it was all part of the battle and it makes it even sweeter.

“My husband, Dylan, and the rest of my family had to cope with the trauma of the qualification period and now they are all excited and looking forward to sharing this once- in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

While Bankier, who plays mixed doubles with England’s Chris Adcock and already has a world championship silver and a European Championship bronze medal, will compete in Indonesia next week, Egelstaff’s next appearance in a competition will be at the Olympics at Wembley.

“I missed so much time with the injury that it will be great to have a big block of training,” explained the player ranked No 34 in the world in women’s singles.

“I’m going to spend time in Scotland and at Milton Keynes and then I’m off to France for some sparring practice before joining the Olympic holding camp at Loughborough just before the Games.”

Yun Luo, who has worked with Egelstaff for two years, admitted her charge had made “a huge achievement”.

For Louise Martin, chair of sportscotland, the fact that two of the four in the British line-up are Scottish is extra cause for celebration: “Susan and Imogen have both come through the system from their junior days and it is great to have 50 per cent of the badminton team.”

For Bankier and Adcock, they’ve got the T-shirt but now they also want a medal.