Sunday 20 August 2017
Last summer’s Olympic Games didn’t go entirely to plan for Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour, but she insists she’s been moving in an upwards trajectory ever since.
Despite winning her opening match in Rio against Sabrina Jaquet, Gilmour exited in the group stage, but bounced back earlier this year to win silver at the European Championships in Denmark.
This week, she will launch her World Championship campaign on familiar territory, the Emirates Arena being the stage for her Commonwealth silver medal win back in 2014.
But while many would crumble under the pressure of playing in front of a home crowd, 23-year-old Gilmour is determined to thrive off it, and credits her new coach with turning her performances around.
“It’s a privilege to have the pressure of a home World Championships, so I’m just going to try and enjoy it, and use it positively,” she said.
“A lot has changed since Rio. I have a different knee for one, but I think since Rio it has only really been upwards for me.
“Working with Tat Meng Wong, our new coach who came in February, things have just snowballed for the better. I feel that I am a better player than I was then.”
The last time Glasgow hosted a World Championships was ten years ago in 2007, when a young Gilmour sat in the crowd hoping to step into her heroes’ shoes.
This time round, she will be the one who youngsters in the crowd are watching, and she’s confident the world’s finest players can inspire the next generation to pick up a racket for the first time.
“I don’t think many people get the opportunity to have a Commonwealth Games and a World Championships within a few years in the city in which they live - I live 15 minutes away from the arena,” she added.
“For all the top players to come here and play at one of the best arenas, I’m so excited to get going.
“My friends have been loving taking selfies with the posters around the town, but it’s really nice to see so many people, who are only interested in badminton through me, are getting so involved.
“In Scotland, it’s already really helping to raise the profile of badminton and the tournament hasn’t even started yet, so I think in terms of people coming to see world-class badminton in the flesh, that’s really important for badminton in Scotland, Britain and Europe.”
It’s a goal shared by English mixed doubles pair Chris and Gabby Adcock, as they look to podium in Glasgow to add to the European title they won in April.
Seeded fifth, they are among the favourites to win gold this year, but they’re determined not to look too far ahead.
“We know we have very tough opposition, but we’ve been in good form this year, and we’re feeling really good,” said Chris.
“We’ll take it one game at a time and we don’t take anything for granted, but we’re really looking forward to this week and hopefully we can get the home crowd behind us.
“There is no easy draw at the World Championships. We fought really hard to get a top four seeding which we just missed out on.
“The Chinese are very strong with three top pairs, and they know how to win majors. But we’re hoping to add our names to that list too.
“We believe we’ve got what it takes.”
The TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 will be staged at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena from 21-27 August.
History was made on finals day at the TOTAL BWF World Championships as Viktor Axelsen became the first European player to win men’s singles gold in 20 years.