Bothwell badminton star Kirsty Gilmour has launched her bid for a place in next year’s Olympics in Brazil - but could do with some help from tournament draw organisers.
Her race to Rio got off to a false start Down Under last week when she went out in the first round of the Star Australian Open Superseries in Sydney.
The 21-year-old, Britain’s leading women’s singles player, fell 21-12 21-9 to Thailand’s Busanan Ongbumrungpan in her first event since the start of the year-long Olympic qualifying period at the beginning of May.
And things didn’t get much better at this week’s Indonesian Open Superseries Premier event where she was drawn against China’s top seed and world No 2 Li Xuerui, the reigning Olympic champion and 2013 and 2014 world runner-up.
Despite being the underdog Gilmour threatened an upset when she took the first game 21-10, but her opponent battled to take the next two 21-15 21-15.
And despite the defeat she was encouraged with her performance, tweeting: “The support in Istora was amazing today thank you so much! I fought hard but I guess she is No.1 for a reason. Next time!”
Since losing in the first round of the World Championships in Copenhagen last August Kirsty has played six Superseries events and only reached the second round in the French.
But on each of those six occasions the Commonwealth Games silver medallist lost to higher ranked players but her one win in Paris was also against a higher ranked player.
In Sydney her Thai opponent, ranked 12 places higher than Gilmour at no 18 in the world, led all the way in the first game and ensured victory with an unanswered 10-point burst in the second, which swept her from 2-1 down to 11-2 ahead.
While Gilmour can more than hold her own on the European circuit, she has not had the luck of the draw in the big tournaments.