Badminton Life

Yuan Geo a Three Times Runner-up

With a total prize fund of over ¡ê1,600 being competed for, its fair to say the Scottish National Badminton Championships do not offer the glamour or wealth that many sports events can but it is the pride and prestige that goes along with winning at your National Championships that provides the motivation for the players who entertained the crowds in Perth at the start of February.

The Mens Singles Event was an extremely open field with 22 players vying to be crowned the Champion but unsurprisingly, the seeding for the tournament turned out to be largely accurate as the top 4 seeds all made it through to the semi-finals of the event. In the end, Craig Goddard, a former winner in 2005 and 2006, completed his third win in the tournament by triumphing over top seed Gordon Thomson by a score of 21-19, 21-11.

Again the seeds of the Mens Doubles tournament proved to be largely accurate but had an interesting aspect to it with last years winners Andrew Bowman and Watson Briggs returning to the final but being in opposite teams this year. This meant that one former winner was bound to triumph again and it was Bowman, with new partner David Gilmour who grabbed the glory over Briggs and Thomas Bethell.

Although the ladies event only featured 9 players, what it lacked in quantity it made up for in quality and consistency with last years finalists once again playing off for the right to be Womens Single Champion. In a change from last years outcome, Susan Hughes, the top seed of the tournament, avenged her defeat last year by beating Rita Yuan Geo 22-20, 21-18. This victory gave Hughes her third triumph in the tournament although it was harsh of Yuan Geo, who competed bravely and had entered the competition on the back of being triumphant at the Dunfermline Open.

The level of consistency shown in the Womens Singles event was also carried onto the Ladies Doubles contest with the final featuring the same pairings as the 2006 final. On one hand this shows the remarkable level of form and consistency that the female badminton players in Scotland are capable of but it does also suggest that the new talent that is emerging is not quite ready to compete for the major honours.

In a further similar twist to the Ladies Singles event whereas the former runners-up gained revenge for the previous defeat as Imogen Bankier and Emma Mason defeated Hughes and Yuan Geo.

Yuan Geo's losing streak continued into the Mixed Doubles tournament where she and partner Andrew Bowman came off second best to Bankier and Watson Briggs to the tune of 14-21, 21-19, 22-20. Losing out in one final is hard enough on any athlete but to lose three in the space of one tournament must be extremely tough and no doubt Rita Yuan Geo was bitterly disappointed with her weekend.

Conversely, Imogen Bankier must be delighted with the form that saw her clinch two Doubles triumphs at the Scottish National Championships and will be looking to carry this level of form for the rest of 2008.

With so many interesting twists and turns, the 2008 Scottish National Badminton Championships managed to capture the interest and excitement of the crowd who came along and has left a lot for next years tournament to live up to.

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