Jillie Cooper, one of Scotland’s most popular badminton players, today announced her retirement.
The 26-year-old from Edinburgh, who won the women’s doubles title at the 2008 Scottish International Championships, made her Scotland debut in 2007 and won the last of her 39 caps at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
She said: “The time is right, especially after the Commonwealth Games. The Olympics in Rio is only two years away and with partnership changes it doesn’t leave a lot of time (to start afresh).
“I have played in almost every major international event and I have had an amazing career, especially after coming back from two major operations. I suppose Glasgow 2014 was the perfect ending with all my friends and family there to watch.”
Jillie, who gained a BSc in science from the Open University during her playing career, added: “I would like to thank the Scottish Institute of Sport and BADMINTONscotland for all their support.
“I can look back on a career which included playing in two Commonwealth Games and winning the Scottish Open title at the Kelvin Hall, which was amazing.
“I also came through the junior ranks into senior badminton with good friends like Emma Mason, Linda Sloan and Imogen Bankier.
“I can leave without any regrets. My French club in Aix-en-Provence wanted me to carry on but I plan to go travelling at the start of November before deciding what to do next.”
After her 2008 Scottish International title triumph at the Kelvin Hall she went on to win the women’s doubles and mixed doubles titles at the Welsh International a few weeks later.
Her last title success was earlier this year when she won the Romanian International mixed doubles with Martin Campbell.
BADMINTONscotland Chief Executive Anne Smillie led the plaudits when she said: “Jillie was always a player who gave 100 per cent and I am sorry she has decided to retire, especially at such a young age.
“But she can look back on her badminton career with great satisfaction, having left her mark on both the junior and senior level of the sport.
“Jillie has played a significant part in Scotland’s recent successes, particularly the 2013 Sudirman Cup campaign when Scotland were unbeaten in topping Group Two.
Team Scotland Chef de Mission Jon Doig added: “Jillie represented Team Scotland at the last two Commonwealth Games and has made a significant contribution to both her sport and the team as a whole. We wish her all the very best for the future.”
BADMINTONscotland Performance Manager Gareth McKenna said: “Jillie has risen to many challenges and continued to show determination to get the best out of herself. Jillie is a great team player, who always had great pride in representing her country, sharing in great moments in the Sudirman Cup in 2013 and Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014.
“She has been a great servant to Scottish badminton and will be missed.”