It was quite a weekend for Scottish badminton. Kirsty Gilmour claimed Scotland’s first-ever European Championship medal with a silver in the women’s singles in France and the under-15 squad produced a string of impressive performances in the under-15 Home Nations Quadrangular at Scotstoun in Glasgow.
It was certainly a special few days for the High School of Glasgow’s Rachel Sugden. She clinched the winning point for Scotland in the team event – and then went on to win the individual girls’ singles in an all-Scottish final.
Scotland won another two individual titles – including a double by Glasgow School of Sport’s Adam Pringle. He won the boys’ doubles with school mate Joshua Apiliga and the mixed with George Watson’s College pupil Rachel Andrew.
In the team championship, Scotland beat both Wales and Ireland 9-0 to set up a tense decider against England.
It looked good for the home squad with victories in the two boys’ and the two girls’ doubles. But, with just one more win required, the tide began to turn. Joshua lost a close boys’ singles in three games and Dunbar Grammar’s Alastair Campbell also dropped his point to make the score 4-2.
George Heriot’s Rachel Cameron took the opening game in her girls’ singles, but couldn’t quite make it over the line.
That’s when Rachel Sugden stepped in to seal the deal with a straight games triumph over Annie Lado – a victory with which Scotland retained the title won in Milton Keynes 12 months ago. The three Rachels – Sugden, Cameron and Andrew – were also in that team.
“There was a lot of pressure and I was very nervous before I went onto court in the team event,” admitted Rachel Sugden. “But it felt great to take the winning point.”
It’s been a great season for the youngster. Along with Rachel Cameron, she won a bronze medal in the European Under-15 Championships.
Fitting her badminton around school work is not easy and she was allowed to postpone her third year exams for a week in order to join the line-up at Scotstoun. “I’m going to fit them in this week,” said Rachel. “School is great. I’m not sure what I want to do in the future, but I definitely want to keep playing badminton.”
Rachel Cameron was runner-up in the girls’ singles and doubles (with Rachel Andrew) – and she arrived at Scotstoun after a tough week. She had squeezed in eight exams in four days in order to make it to Scotstoun.
For Mackie Academy’s Maria Leith, competing in the Quadrangular continued a family affair with the event. Her two older brothers, Sean (2012) and Mark (2011), both played in the event.