Renfrew ace Watson Briggs will be hoping to defend not one but two titles when he lines up at the 2013 Yonex Scottish National Championships.
Briggs is the defending champion in both the mixed doubles and the men’s doubles but faces tough competition for the titles at this year’s event, which is to be staged at the Bell’s Sports Centre, in Perth, from Friday, February 1, until Sunday, February 3.
In the mixed doubles, he once again teams up with former World Championships silver medallist Imogen Bankier.
Briggs and Glaswegian Bankier have won the title together five times but they will have their work cut out for them this year as another former World silver medallist – Glasgow’s Robert Blair – will partner Edinburgh player Jillie Cooper in the same event.
Blair will be playing in his first senior Scottish National Championships since his repatriation to his home country and will be keen to get his hands on a trophy, having never won a national title at senior level in Scotland.
His last success at national level in Scotland came way back in 1999, when he won a treble of singles, men’s doubles and mixed at Under-19s.
Also in the mixed doubles line-up are the formidable duo of Paul van Rietvelde, of Longniddry, and reigning women’s singles champion Kirsty Gilmour, of Bothwell.
Briggs and van Rietvelde will be aiming to defend the men’s doubles title they won together for the first time last year, whilst 2010 and 2011 champions Jamie Neill (Hamilton) and Keith Turnbull (Larkhall) are sure to provide stiff opposition.
Gilmour will be favourite to retain her women’s singles crown but will have to be wary of former champion Rita Yuan Gao, who hails from Paisley but now coaches in Switzerland and will be returning to Scotland to compete.
Anne Smillie, BADMINTONscotland chief executive, said: “We have had a great entry to the Yonex Scottish National Championships this year.
“With two former world silver medallists in the draw, the strength in depth we have at the moment, particularly in mixed doubles, is really encouraging with a view to our squad for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
“I’m looking forward to watching some fantastic matches at Bell’s Sports Centre and I would encourage everyone to come along to watch the action.”
The seedings for the championships will be announced next week, while the draw will be available on BADMINTONscotland’s website on Wednesday, January 30.
Tickets are now on sale from the Bell’s Sport Centre and can also be bought online at www.badmintonscotland.org.uk.