Badminton: Cooper eyes double doubles joy at Perth

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Edinburgh’s Jillie Cooper is tipped for success at this weekend’s Yonex Scottish National Badminton Championships at Bell’s Sports Centre in Perth.

The 23-year-old joins Olympic hopeful Imogan Bankier as the top seeds in the women’s doubles and is second favourite with Longniddry’s Paul Van Rietvelde in the mixed. Four-time champions Bankier and Watson Briggs (Renfrew) are the top seeds.

Cooper won the women’s doubles with Edinburgh’s Emma Mason last year – she also won in 2009 – and recently reached the semi-finals of the mixed doubles with Briggs at the Scottish International Championships in Glasgow.

Edinburgh’s Martin Campbell and Troon’s Angus Gilmour would have been among the favourites for the men’s doubles, but they are sitting their final exams at Loughborough University so have opted out this year.

Bothwell teenager Kirsty Gilmour and last year’s beaten finalist, Linda Sloan, are the top seeds in the women’s singles, but four times champion Rita Yuan Gao will be aiming to cause an upset.

Yuan Gao is now coaching in Switzerland but is returning to Scotland to try and add singles title number five to her impressive collection.

If the seedings work out, Yuan Gao will meet 18-year-old Gilmour in the semi-finals. For 22-year-old Sloan, the goal is not only to make a fourth final but also to claim the title for a first time.

Holder Kieran Merrilees (Glasgow) is the favourite in the men’s singles ahead of 2010 champion, Calum Menzies (Falkirk), while Jamie Neil (Hamilton) and Keith Turnbull (Larkhall) are tipped to stage a successful defence of the men’s doubles.