Scotland to face hosts India in mixed team badminton event
Scotland have been handed a tough test in the mixed team badminton event at the XIX Commonwealth Games following the conclusion of the draw in Delhi on Thursday.
The draw, which took place at the residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, pitted eighth seeded Scotland against hosts and second seeds India as well as Wales, Barbados and Kenya in Group D of the competition, with the potential for a clash with the Auld Enemy England in the quarter-finals.
India has some world class players including women’s singles world number three Saina Nehwal and they will prove a stern test for the Scots, who have already faced India twice in team competitions in the last three years. Both those meetings came in the Sudirman Cup World Team Championships with India winning 5-0 last year in Guangzhou and 4-1 three years ago when the Championships were held in Glasgow.
In both matches Nehwal beat double Commonwealth bronze medallist Susan Egelstaff in close three game matches and if Scotland is to have any chance of winning the group in Delhi they will have to rely on Egelstaff overcoming Nehwal.
Egelstaff and the rest of the Scottish badminton team will arrive in Delhi on Friday 1 October and will have the weekend to acclimatise and prepare for an intensive three days of group matches which will determine who progresses to the quarter-final stage.
“This will be my third Commonwealth Games,” said Egelstaff, who is the world No 31 and will celebrate her 28th birthday during the Games. “I won a team bronze in Manchester in 2002 and the individual bronze in Melbourne four years ago so I am looking forward to trying to add to that.”
The Scots start their campaign against Barbados on Monday 4 October at 2pm and face a tricky tie against Wales, who are in the neighbouring tower block in the Athletes’ Village, the following day in the evening match which starts at 7pm.
On the final day of the group matches Scotland face a challenging schedule as they take on Kenya in the morning match at 9am, then India at 1900hrs in a tie which could potentially decide which of the seeded teams will finish top of the group.
If Scotland qualify from their group they will face either the winners or runners-up of Group C, which means a potential clash with England in the quarter-final. The last time Scotland competed in the team event was in Manchester 2002 where they went out to England at the semi-final stage but still went on to win a team bronze medal.
“The match with Wales could be close but we are definitely aiming to at least finish second,” said Egelstaff.
“I’m certainly looking forward to playing England again. We played them in the European Team Championships in Liverpool in 2009 and I won my match. We lost 4-1 but the other matches were fairly close. Of course, England would be big favourites but you never know what could happen. There’s always a bit of an edge when you play England.”
Top seeds and hot favourites Malaysia have been drawn in Group A along with Australia, Nigeria, Seychelles Islands and Isle of Man while in Group B joint 3/4 seeds Singapore will face New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Jamaica and Northern Ireland. Fellow joint 3/4 seeds England have been drawn with Canada, Mauritius, Uganda and Falklands Islands in Group C.
Each match in the group stages will consist of five ties – men’s and women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles, with the top two teams from each group progressing to the quarter-finals on 7 October. The semi-finals will also be played on 7 October with the bronze and gold medal matches on October 8.
The mixed team event will be followed by the individual events from 9-14 October where Egelstaff will be out to at least match her bronze from four years ago when she beat Jersey’s Elizabeth Cann in the play-off.
Scotland’s full squad is:
Paul van Rietvelde
Team Leader: Julie Hogg
Head Coach: Yvette Yun Luo
Coach: John Quinn