By Clare Carswell
Glaswegian Susan Egelstaff was crowned queen of the court on home soil after she won the women’s singles title at the Bank of Scotland International Badminton Championships at Kelvin Hall.
The 27-year-old Scot beat the 2005 and 2006 winner, Ella Diehl of Russia, in two games, 21-18, 21-10, on 22 November, to take her first international title.
‘Ella’s a world-class player with a higher rank than me, so I had to play the best I could,’ the Commonwealth bronze medallist said.
Representing Scotland in the women’s doubles final was Edinburgh-born, Glasgow-based Emma Mason. She partnered Mariana Agathangelou of England, who won the title last year with another Scot, Jillie Cooper.
In the first match of the day, Mason and Agathangelou were beaten in two swift games, 21-16, 21-16, by Valeria Sorokina and Nina Vislova of Russia, who are ranked number 14 in the world.
Cooper and new partner, Samantha Ward of England, were defeated in the semi-finals by their fellow Britons.
The day held a silver lining for Mason, who received the Robert McCoig Memorial Award from Badminton Scotland patron HRH Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, for the most meritorious performance.
Mason, who snapped her Achilles 18 months ago said: ‘For any Scottish player it’s a great honour, especially coming back from such a long injury. It’s good to know others appreciate how hard it was to come back.’
Scotland’s best chance of glory in the men’s finals disappeared in the third round, when Sourabh Verma of India defeated the ninth seed, Glasgow’s Kieran Merrilees.
A Scot to watch for the future is Glasgow’s Kirsty Gilmour, who at 16-years-old reached the third round of the women’s singles and displayed great flair in her win against Audrey Bonneville of Canada.
Glasgow welcomed more than 250 badminton players from 30 nations to the five-day event, which began with qualifiers on 18 November.
During the championship week, more than 3,000 Scottish schoolchildren received specialist badminton coaching as Kelvin Hall’s indoor running track was converted into the venue for the Bank of Scotland Play Badminton Carnival.
The Deputy Championship Director, Colin M Atkinson, said: ‘The carnival is hugely important. It’s one of the main reasons the championships are such a success and gives the children the opportunity to play at a major sporting arena.’