Scots prepare for European Championships finals
Scotland’s best shuttlers – including Giffnock player Ciar Pringle – travelled to Finland last week ahead of the European Mixed Team Championships finals, which take place in Vantaa this week from February 16-20.
It’s the first time Scotland have played in the final stages of the competition since 2015. That year, the Scots reached the quarter-finals before defeat to a strong Russian team ended their campaign.
This year Scotland have been drawn in Group 1 against reigning champions Denmark, hosts Finland and a strong German team, while Group 2 features England, France, the Netherlands and Russia.
Two teams from each group will progress to the knock-out semi-finals.
Scotland beat 2013 champions Germany in the group stages in 2015 and are likely to have to repeat that feat to progress this time around.
The Danes are hot favourites, having dominated the biennial event in recent years and have been champions since 2015. But there is an outstanding team spirit prevalent in the current squad which has already helped the Scots cause an upset in this event, toppling seeds Spain in December’s qualification stage.
Julie MacPherson and Ciara Torrance had brought Scotland back from the brink of defeat in that match before Adam Hall and Chris Grimley closed out the win with a dominant men’s doubles performance and Grimley is relishing the next challenge awaiting him in Finland.
He said: “I’m looking forward to the European Mixed Team Championships.
“We’ve got a really good team and team spirit is high both on and off court. I’m looking forward to playing some strong teams and representing Scotland.”
Unfortunately Kirsty Gilmour, Scotland’s most experienced player, suffered an injury against the Spaniards and will not recover in time for the finals but the core of the team is the same as the one which secured qualification, bolstered by the addition of Matthew Grimley, Eleanor O’Donnell and Rachel Sugden.
“I’m really looking forward to the European Championships. I’ve been injured and haven’t played [competitively] since November” said O’Donnell.
“I also love team events, it’s nice to go away as a team as we’re a really close-knit group.”
The full National Senior Squad, which will be led by coach Robert Blair, is as follows:
Joshua Apiliga, 19, from Glasgow, 2 international caps
Chris Grimley, 20, from Glasgow, 7 caps
Matthew Grimley, 20, fromGlasgow, 3 caps
Adam Hall, 24, from Mauchline, 17 caps
Julie MacPherson, 23, from Edinburgh, 24 caps
Holly Newall, 22, from Mauchline, 8 caps
Eleanor O’Donnell, 22, from Beith,17 caps
Ciar Pringle, 21, from Giffnock, 2 caps
Rachel Sugden, 19, from Alexandria, 6 caps
Ciara Torrance, 21, from Paisley, 10 caps
Scotland will face Germany in the opening match taking place today (Tuesday 16 February).
Finland are the opponents on Wednesday, 17 February before the Danish tie the following day, with the top two teams going through to the knock-out semi-finals.
You can watch the live streaming of the event by visiting the website www.badmintoneurope.tv/ and results, draws and match schedules are available by visiting www.tournamentsoftware.com