ANNE SMILLIE, the Chief Executive of BADMINTONscotland, deserved to be sporting a huge smile this week following Scotland’s successful bid to stage world team badminton championship the Sudirman Cup for a second time at Glasgow’s Scotstoun Leisure Centre, Glasgow in May 2007.
Scotland beat off a rival bid from reigning champions South Korea when the International Badminton Federation’s Council made the decision in Jakarta, Indonesia, last weekend.
Scotland’s election is another tremendous coup for Smillie, whose first foray into staging massive events came with the 1992 European Championships at the Kelvin Hall.
Since then, she and her team have successfully held Thomas and Uber Cups qualifying events, the 1997 world individual and team championships and the 2000 European Championships. Along the way, they have built a reputation as perfect hosts.
At Scotstoun in 1997, the Sudirman Cup and the world individual championships were staged as one package - they have now been split, but Smillie still expects 2007 to be the biggest badminton extravaganza ever to take place in Scotland.
The 2007 Cup is expected to attract nearly 1000 players from 70 nations - "It will be the biggest and best yet for Scotland," she confidently declared.
In fact, being named as hosts is another reward for Smillie’s part in making sure that the IBF didn’t proceed with a plan to streamline the Sudirman Cup into a tournament for only the stronger nations. If that had happened, Scotland would not have played in the championships, far less hosted them.
"Everyone back home in Scotland knows we have the skill, experience and expertise to stage a big event like the Sudirman Cup," she said.
"It will be a huge advertisement for the game in Scotland, and hopefully encourage more youngsters into the sport. It is also good for our country to prove we can stage such events and it wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous support we received from Glasgow City Council, UK Sport, EventScotland and SportScotland.
"Of course, there is an awful lot of work to be done. But we have a great team of expertise and this is just the kind of challenge that really motivates everyone involved with BADMINTONscotland.
"It is also good for our current crop of young players. They can now aim to be playing for their country in a world championship in front of a home crowd in just a few years’ time."
At the Jakarta selection meeting, the 2006 world individual championships were awarded to Madrid, who beat off a challenge from Denmark.