Badminton Life

Scottish Ladies Make the Quarters

Although their opening two matches in the Uber Cup in Holland provided Scotland with 5-0 victories, the Scottish female badminton team was taking nothing for granted in their final Group G encounter with Bulgaria, with the winners of the match qualifying through to the quarter final stages.

No doubt buoyed by the confidence their previous victories had instilled in the team, the Scottish Women's badminton team ran out 4-1 winners over Bulgaria, meaning it was them and not the Bulgarians who progressed. Given that Bulgaria had also won both of their previous matches at the tournament by a 5-0 score line, the manner and margin of victory was extremely impressive.

The tone for the match was immediately set by Susan Hughes who defeated Petva Nedelcheva by a score of 21-16, 21-15. This was a slight upset as although Hughes is currently ranked 41 in the world and holds a Commonwealth bronze medal, her opponent is in the Worlds Top 20 at the moment, with a placing of 15. Given that the manner of the win by Hughes was so strong, the confidence spread throughout the team and yet again, Linda Sloan turned in a performance that belied her years and inexperience.

The Glaswegian teenager has had a tremendous tournament, posting victories in every match she has played in and introducing herself to the world Badminton stage with some great performances and enthusiastic attitude. Sloan got the better of Linda Zechiri by a score of 21-15, 23-21 which does indicate closeness in the match but also underlined her strength and mental ability to grind out the result when things got tough.

A country of Scotlands size may not always have the opportunity to produce world-class badminton players and whilst it is still early days in Sloans development, her experiences and triumphs at the Uber Cup can only provide her with a fantastic platform from which to build.

And as has been proved throughout the tournament, whatever the youthful endeavor of Linda Sloan can provide, the age and experience of Rita Yuan Gao can also supply as yet again, Yuan Gao tasted victory with a 21-15, 21-12 win over Gabriela Banova.

Even before the Doubles matches had commenced, Scotland had sealed victory in the tie and booked their passage through to the quarter finals which possibly had an influence on them losing the first Doubles game. Hughes and partner Jillie Cooper lost over three games to Atanaskia Spasova and Maya Dobreva 8-21, 21-17, 21-14 to allow Bulgaria to avoid the whitewash but the loss was only temporary for the Scots team as they bounced back in the last match to seal the 4-1 triumph.

Again Yuan Gao was at the centre of the Scots triumph as she and partner Imogen Bankier defeated Nedelcheva and Diana Dimova 21-19, 21-18 to round off a highly impressive run of form in the Group matches for the Scottish team.

No matter where the Scottish female badminton team ends up being placed in the Uber Cup, their group performances have been excellent and offers some hope about the continuing development of the Scottish game.

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