IMOGEN BANKIER will be aiming for her seventh mixed doubles title in a row at the Yonex Scottish National Championships at Bell’s Sports Centre in Perth from February 1-3.
But Bankier, who has won five times with Watson Briggs and once with Longniddry’s Paul Van Rietvelde, will not start as favourite for the title.
Bankier, the 2011 world mixed doubles silver medallist, was today seeded second with Renfrew’s Briggs behind Glasgow's Robert Blair and Edinburgh's Jillie Cooper.
Van Rietvelde, who was runner-up last year with Cooper, will partner Bothwell’s Kirsty Gilmour and they are joint third seeds along with Patrick MacHugh and Caitlin Pringle in what is an extremely strong mixed doubles line-up.
Gilmour is No. 1 seed in the women’s singles, where she defends the title she won for the first time last year. She is seeded to meet former champion Rita Yuan Gao, who is returning for the Championships from Switzerland, where she now coaches.
Yuan Gao is also Gilmour’s main rival in the women’s doubles. Gilmour and Cooper are top seeds and Yuan Gao and Pringle are second seeds. Cooper won her third title last year with Bankier, beating Yuan Gao and Linda Sloan in the final.
Yuan Gao has won the singles title four times, the doubles six times and the mixed twice.
In the men’s singles Glasgow’s two-time champion Kieran Merrilees is top seed as he prepares to defend his title but two former champions are also among the seeds with Falkirk’s Calum Menzies at No. 2 and three-times champion Craig Goddard one of the four joint fifth seeds. Rising stars Matthew Carder, one of last year’s semi-finalists, is joint third seed along with Ruaraidh Sim.
The men’s doubles is set to be one of the most hotly-contested events with young stars Martin Campbell of Edinburgh and Glasgow’s Angus Gilmour bidding for their first title.
But the top seeds will face a strong challenge from defending champions Briggs and Van Rietvelde at No. 2 and former champions and last year’s beaten finalists Jamie Neill and Keith Turnbull at No. 3 along with the intriguing pairing of Blair and former singles champion Gordon Thomson.
The Yonex Scottish National Championships are being held at the Bell’s Sports Centre for the 12th consecutive year, courtesy of Perth and Kinross Council, Perth and Kinross Sports Council and Live Active Leisure.
Tickets are available from BADMINTONscotland or from the Bell’s Sports Centre.
1. Kieran Merrilees (Glasgow)
2. Calum Menzies (Falkirk)
3/4 Matthew Carder (South Queensferry); Ruaraidh Sim (Lisburn)
5/8 Craig Goddard (East Kilbride); Danny Leinster (Glasgow); Josh Neil (Prestwick); Ben Torrance (Prestwick)
1. Kirsty Gilmour (Bothwell)
2. Rita Yuan Gao (Switzerland)
1. Martin Campbell (Edinburgh)/Angus Gilmour (Glasgow)
2. Watson Briggs (Renfrew)/Paul van Rietvelde (Longniddry)
3/4 Robert Blair/Gordon Thomson (both Glasgow); Jamie Neill (Hamilton)/Keith Turnbull (Larkhall)
1. Jillie Cooper (Glasgow)/Kirsty Gilmour (Bothwell)
2. Rita Yuan Gao (Switzerland)/Caitlin Pringle (Giffnock)
1. Robert Blair/Jillie Cooper (both Glasgow)
2. Watson Briggs (Renfrew)/Imogen Bankier (Glasgow)
3/4 Patrick MacHugh (Glasgow)/Caitlin Pringle (Giffnock); Paul van Rietvelde (Longniddry)/Kirsty Gilmour (Bothwell)