C’WEALTH GAMES – Scotland and India qualify at first opportunity

Scotland and India have already qualified for the quarterfinals with resounding performances on day one of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. England and Malaysia too played well. Ghana have also confirmed […]

Scotland and India have already qualified for the quarterfinals with resounding performances on day one of the Glasgow . England and Malaysia too played well. Ghana have also confirmed a showdown with Uganda to progress second place in Group B.

By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent, live from Glasgow.  Photos: Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live).

The opening session of the 2014 Commonwealth Games Mixed Team event saw little cause for concern for the favourite teams as four of the five team matches on court finished 5-0.

The most hotly contested match saw Kenya and Uganda push each other into the fourth match, but the mens’ pair of Ekiring and Tukire (pictured left) held off a late resurgence from their Kenyan opposition.

For the crowd though, the interest was largely in the home team where the Scottish did not disappoint, as they did not lose a game in the morning, or indeed the evening as they qualified for the quarterfinals.

Campbell and Cooper (pictured right) represented twice in the mixed and again came up trumps, Cooper saying after, “It’s really important to get the first point on the board and was another good win for us today.”

Three matches were all that were needed as the singles players came through, with home favourite for the individual title later in the week, Kirsty Gilmour, finished in style.

“It [the match] was good, it’s a bit different from how I remember Delhi. It’s really cool to have the full crowd support. I really like this venue, I played the Scottish here in November and it’s even better now they’ve opened it up, could just do with being a bit more noisy, more bums on seats.”

Quietly, defending champions Malaysia and incumbent silver medallists India played solidly despite missing star performers Lee Chong Wei and Saina Nehwal, with India joining Scotland in the knockout stage, also with two matches in a day, with P. V. Sindhu putting in good performances in both the singles and the womens’ doubles.

The middle session saw a fuller crowd and a much more boisterous atmosphere as there were some much bigger margins of victory, but also some more closely competed games, thankfully a theme that continued into the evening. Daniel Font of Wales took a match off the Australians to leave the tie finely poised, but a very close encounter in favour of Australian Kessler ,and then a second win by Smith (pictured left), this time with Middleton (pictured left) took the match in favour of yellow.

For Font, this was a new experience, “Playing here is incredible but I was very nervous. My family are all here, some of them have never seen me play, and all my mates are too so it’s good but it’s a lot of pressure.”

Jamaicans Henry (pictured right) and Palmer fought hard to take Chrisnanta and Hee to three ends, and in so doing won the admiration of the crowd, who also took a liking to the Norfolk Islands, who could not be faulted for trying.

England started off their tournament well with a whitewash of Northern Ireland. One of the favourites for the team title, it was an assured performance with only Sarah walker taken to a third game.

Chris Adcock spoke after their opening win, “A few of us in the team now have multisport tournament experience which is good, we can use that and we’re more aware of what’s going on around us.”

Ouseph spoke particularly of the team aspect i Glasgow, “Obviously I don’t play team competitions very often as a singles player, it’s nice to be part of something a bit bigger. We’re hoping to build on strong performances [Thomas & Uber Cups] and there’s nothing to stop us beating the bronze we got in Delhi.”

The best match of the day however came late on as Paul and Lubah of Mauritius narrowly lost out to Jersey’s Constable and Hutchings in three games. With the game finishing 21-19 20-22 21-18, there was little to pick between the pairs in a matchup which would otherwise be lost in a 5-0 whitewash.

The games have demonstrated today that whilst the minnows may struggle to compete with the powerhouses of badminton, the matches between themselves offer very compelling viewing – fitting for the tournament dubbed ‘the friendly games’.

The full results for the day can be found here.

About Michael Burke