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Finn Russell unveiled as ambassador

Wednesday 24 August 2016

BADMINTONscotland today marked One Year to Go to the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 by unveiling Scotland and Glasgow Warriors rugby star Finn Russell as an Official Ambassador.

He joins Scotland and Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon as Ambassador of the Championships which will be staged at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena from 21-27 August next year.

Finn greeted pupils from Glasgow School of Sport and Hillhead High School at the Kelvin Hall, the long-time home of the Scottish Open before the third oldest Open tournament in world badminton moved to its present home at the Emirates Arena.

Glasgow School of Sport pupils will be involved in assisting at the World Coaching Conference to be held in conjunction with the World Championships next year, while Hillhead High School is providing Sports Leaders to assist BADMINTONscotland run various Big Hit grassroots events over the coming 12 months aimed at creating a sustainable legacy from the TOTAL BWF World Championships.

Finn is a big badminton fan, having grown up in a family steeped in the sport’s history. His late grandmother Marjory was a Scotland star of the 1950s and when BADMINTONscotland celebrated its centenary in 2011 she was the oldest former Scotland internationalist present.

Her husband, Alasdair, was also a Scotland international while Finn’s father Keith was a junior badminton international along with his two brothers.

The School of Sport, which has produced many of Scotland’s current and emerging top players, joined Finn to mark the countdown to the World Championships next year.

Finn said: “I am delighted to be involved in the TOTAL BWF World Championships. Badminton runs in our family and I know full well what a great community sport it is as well as a highly skilful and competitive game at the top level.

“I am looking forward to helping promote the World Championships over the coming months and helping BADMINTONscotland in their aim to get more and more children playing the game.”

The TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 are being delivered by BADMINTONscotland in conjunction with Glasgow City Council, EventScotland and UK Sport.

Anne Smillie, Chief Executive of BADMINTONscotland, said: “It is marvellous to have two high-profile sporting figures in Finn and Craig supporting our World Championships.

“The aim is to encourage more and more primary schoolchildren to take up badminton and with Finn and Craig backing our initiatives we are confident of hitting our target.

“We want to see thousands of youngsters across Scotland introduced to the game over the next year or so. If we achieve that aim then it will be the perfect legacy.

“Everyone knows our track record on staging major world badminton events and we aim to make 2017 as big a success as 1997 and 2007 were.

“We have a fabulous arena for the Championships, as anyone fortunate enough to attend the Commonwealth Games in 2014 will confirm.

“Our Scottish Open Grand Prix at the Emirates from November 23-27 will provide the opportunity to prepare for the Worlds and try out some of the initiatives we have planned for next August. It is going to be an exciting 52 weeks in the countdown to the Worlds.”

Not only are the world’s best players heading for Glasgow but also the best coaches. Ms Smillie explained: “During the World Championships we are hosting the BWF’s World Coaching Conference at Scotstoun’s National Badminton Academy on 25 and 26 August next year.

“Bookings for the Conference are now open and we anticipate 120 grass roots and performance coaches from around the world to hear world-class coaches and presenters demonstrate and talk about the Conference theme of ‘The Journey to Elite Performance.”

Councillor Archie Graham OBE, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Kelvin Hall was at the heart of Scottish badminton before it closed for refurbishment, and is a fitting venue for the One Year to Go celebration.

“Our very own Glasgow School of Sport has helped develop some world-class badminton players, and we’re all very excited to see the TOTAL BWF Badminton World Championships take place in Glasgow next year.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “The Total BWF Badminton World Championships will see the eyes of the sporting world focus upon Scotland once again and we are delighted to support this event through EventScotland’s International Programme.   “As we have proven in recent years, Scotland is the perfect stage for sporting events, and we look forward to welcoming some of the world’s finest athletes to experience the roar of the Emirates crowd one year from now.”

Tickets are already on sale for the biggest badminton event in Scotland for 10 years. For more information go to www.glasgow2017.com or phone 0141 353 8000 to book tickets.

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