Commonwealth Games: Gilmour ‘must step it up’

Kirsty Gilmour: 'Back to drawing board'. Picture: Getty
Kirsty Gilmour: 'Back to drawing board'. Picture: Getty
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Scotland’s loss to Malaysia in the quarter-finals of the team badminton event was a disappointment, but hardly a surprise. Less predictable and more of a hammer blow was the defeat for Kirsty Gilmour in the women’s singles at the Emirates Arena.

The 20-year-old Scottish Champion is the No 2 seed in the individual women’s singles tomorrow, but she ­admitted she will need to lift her game spectacularly from the 21-10, 21-15 capitulation against Malaysia’s Jing Yi Tee.

To make matters worse Tee, who is the No 4 seed and could meet Gilmour in the individual semi-finals, lost in straight games herself in the team semi-final against Singapore. Malaysia did manage to win the semi and stay on course for repeating their gold medal success of New Delhi four years ago.

After the heavy defeat, Gilmour faced up to the hard reality of the task ahead. “It’s back to the drawing board before Tuesday,” she admitted. “I was not even close to my best. I’m usually a banker in those matches but not today.

“I have to learn from that and really step it up. But a lot of players have lost in the team event and then go on and win medals so I’ve got to stay ­positive.”

After just three of the 11 days of ­badminton competition, Gilmour did suggest that the intensity – and perhaps the medal expectations heaped on her young shoulders – was proving to be tough to handle.

“We’ve been in the Athletes’ Village since last Saturday and that’s a long time,” said the Bothwell 20-year-old who is sharing a room with doubles partner, Imogen Bankier. “We are living in a badminton bubble 24/7.”

The unusually hot weather has also taken its toll, with sunbathing forbidden and the purchase of a fan having been necessary to cool the sleeping area. Perhaps, in hindsight, a later entry to the pressures of the village would have been more advantageous.

Gilmour also had her right wrist in strapping and, while she dismissed any serious injury, she did admit: “It’s been like that for 16 weeks. But what can you do? There is no time to rest.”

The positive news from the 3-1 quarter-final defeat to Malaysia was the form of Bankier and Robert Blair in the mixed doubles. These Olympians and world championship medal winners have the experience to cope with anything. The No 3 seeds in the individual event, their medal credentials are intact.

In the team semi-finals, Malaysia had a close encounter against Singapore before making it into this afternoon’s gold medal play-off. It all came down to a thrilling final mixed doubles that went to three games and included a brave fightback from the pair that had lost to Blair and Bankier.

Ping Soon Chan and Lai Pei Jing were 12-13 down in the third game against Singapore’s Danny Chrisnanta and Vanessa Neo, but they had a run of six points in a row and pulled off a 17-21, 
21-12, 21-14 victory. It had been first blood to Malaysia with a 21-17, 18-21, 21-16 win for Wee Kiong Tan and Wei Shem Goh in the men’s doubles, but teenager Xiaoyu Liang made it 1-1 with a 21-12, 22-20 women’s singles victory against Jing Yi Tee.

Chang Wei Feng, top seed in the ­individual men’s singles, again gave Malaysia the advantage by overcoming Derek Wong 21-9, 21-18 before Shinta Mulia Sari and Lei Yeo bounced back for Singapore to take the women’s doubles 21-9, 21-8 against Khei Wei Woon and Vivian Kak Mun Hoo. Singapore, the 
No 4 seeds, are in the bronze play-off.