Badminton: Bankier, Gilmour and Blair add to Scottish titles

By Keir MurrayBBC Scotland at the Scottish National Championships
Interview: Kirsty Gilmour and Imogen Bankier

Imogen Bankier, Kirsty Gilmour and Robert Blair each won two titles at badminton's Scottish National Championships in Perth on Sunday.

Bankier and Gilmour claimed the women's doubles trophy while Blair and Paul Van Rietvelde were men's doubles winners.

Glasgow pair Blair and Bankier were taken to three games by Van Rietvelde and Cooper but prevailed in the mixed doubles final.

Gilmour and Kieran Merrilees lifted the women's and men's singles respectively.

For 20-year-old Gilmour from Bothwell it was her third Scottish singles title in a row, as she defeated Mauchline teenager Holly Newall 21-9 21-6.

Gilmour's world ranking is a career-high 22.

Glasgow's Merrilees, 24, was struggling with illness but held on to win the first game of his final against South Queensferry's Matthew Carder 25-23 and took the next game 21-13.

Injury prevented the number one seed from training for half of last year and he was unable to defend the title he won in 2011 and 2012 so he was understandably pleased to win the event once more.

"I wasn't feeling great today and I was pretty worried that I wasn't going to be able to play," Merrilees told BBC Scotland.

"I think yesterday I showed my best game and I really wanted to do that again but unfortunately I couldn't do that, but I'm just happy to win."

Bankier won her fifth Scottish women's doubles title, though this was her first with Gilmour, who last year lifted the trophy with Edinburgh's Jillie Cooper.

Indeed, like Bankier, Cooper was going for a fifth title in the event but she and partner Sarah Bok lost 21-9 21-19, despite holding a 17-11 lead in the second game.

Interview: Scottish men's singles champion Kieran Merrilees

"We couldn't afford to be complacent because they are a really good pair," said Gilmour, who now heads to Basel for the European Women's Team Championships with Scotland's best players.

Bankier told BBC Scotland: "We ended up going quite far down in the second but I think we always did have the feeling that we would adapt to their changing tactics and we managed to do that quite successfully.

"We fought back and it was quite tight but it was good to clinch it because [otherwise] then it's anyone's game.

"I've won it with different partners before but for us, as a just-starting-out partnership, we wanted to assert ourselves as winners in the national championships so it's always good to get it under your belt and get on with the rest of the season."

Bankier and Blair are a formidable mixed doubles partnership and are regarded as medal contenders in this summer's Commonwealth Games.

Bankier, 26, won a World Championships silver medal in the mixed doubles in 2011, five years after Edinburgh-born Blair and men's doubles partner Anthony Clark took silver in the World Championships in Madrid.

In Perth they won an exciting final against Van Rietvelde and Cooper 21-7 18-21 21-12 and in doing so Bankier made it eight consecutive Scottish mixed doubles title wins.

Blair won a second piece of silverware when he and Longniddry's Van Rietvelde beat Martin Campbell and Patrick MacHugh 18-21 21-18 21-14 to take the men's doubles title.

For the top-ranked Scottish players it is the last time they will compete on home soil before the Commonwealth Games.

Top Stories