Medal History can inspire Scots badminton stars in Glasgow

As the enormous feature countdown clock inside Glasgow Central ticks into double figures, and Glasgow 2014 looms ever larger on the horizon, it's time to look at what Team Scotland's badminton hopefuls have to live up to.

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Kirsty Gilmour
Kirsty Gilmour

The likes of Kieran Merrilees, Robert Blair, Kirsty Gilmour and Imogen Bankier will be eyeing gold medals in the Emirates Arena, to maintain a strong history of Scottish badminton success at the Commonwealth Games, which began in Kingston, Jamaica in 1966.

The 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, as the event was then known, were held on the Caribbean island and marked badminton's debut on the competition schedule. Team Scotland's Robert McCoig and Muriel Ferguson claimed a mixed doubles bronze medal, which was to be the first of seven badminton medals won by Scots to date in the Commonwealth Games. At the time, McCoig was Scotland's badminton star, dominating the sport domestically and enjoying significant success abroad, with an honours haul which included a record 15 Scottish national titles, as well as two US Open doubles and Canadian Open doubles crowns. Indeed, the team of McCoig and Ferguson would go on to claim an impressive silver medal at the All England Open Badminton Championships at London's Wembley Arena two years after their success in Jamaica.

The wait for another Scottish badminton medal was ended after 12 years, and two Games without success including the 1970 edition in Edinburgh, in Edmonton, Canada in 1978. The mixed doubles silver medal won by the team of Billy Gilliland and Joanna Flockhart would begin a fond association between Gilliland and the Commonwealth Games, but his first medal at the event cemented a successful partnership with Flockhart which also produced a bronze medal at the first ever Badminton World Federation World Championships in 1977. The year after his Commonwealth success Gilliland would claim the Scottish National singles title, and his roll of honour also includes a mixed doubles gold medal at the All England championships in 1985.

However, it was at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, the last time the event was hosted in Scotland, that Gilliland would seal the home nation's first badminton gold medal. Alongside Dan Travers, he won the men's doubles event, to add to the pair's nine Scottish national doubles championships. With Christine Heatly, Gilliland would also claim a bronze medal in Edinburgh in the mixed doubles event.

Again, there was a 12-year wait for more Scots badminton medals, but the bronze medal won by Elinor Middlemiss and Sandra Watt in the women's doubles in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur started a run of three successive Games with Scottish presence on the badminton podium. In 2002, the mixed team of Bruce Flockhart, Alastair Gatt, Russell Hogg, Susan Hughes, Kirsteen McEwan, Elinor Middlemiss, Craig Robertson, Graham Simpson, Graeme Smith, Fiona Sneddon,Sandra Watt & Yuan Wemyss claimed a bronze medal in Manchester. When the 2006 edition was hosted in Melbourne, Scotland was represented on the podium by Susan Egelstaff, who claimed bronze in the woman's singles event.

In Delhi in 2010, Team Scotland came home without a medal, but with a history of success and the home crowd in Glasgow behind the team, we might just hear Flower of Scotland and see the Saltire being raised in the Emirates Arena when the medals are awarded.

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