Kirsty Gilmour: Badminton star keeps active with shuttlecock keepy-ups & serving into toilet roll

By Jane LewisBBC Scotland
Badminton star Kirsty Gilmour on serving into toilet roll & shuttlecock keepy-ups

"A badminton player who can't play badminton" is how Kirsty Gilmour describes herself.

At this time, the Scot should have been involved in crucial Olympic qualifying tournaments, including the Canada and US Open, which would double as play-offs for seeding spots at the Games.

Instead, the coronavirus shutdown means Gilmour is doing whatever she can to replicate the on-court feeling, where should would usually spend four hours per day.

"I'm doing all the training we would normally do round about our on-court sessions," the 26-year-old told BBC Scotland. "Yoga, bike sessions, shuttle runs, circuits, everything that doesn't involve a badminton court.

"I'm really missing the on-court badminton element. Badminton is a sport that can't be replicated any other way, other than actually playing. I do miss a little bit of competition, I think it's no secret that I'm quite a competitive person."

So with that, it is little surprise that she has spent the early part of lockdown trying to recreate that competitiveness without leaving her flat, by setting a series of badminton-themed challenges.

Like many others, she has turned to social media to show off her skills and invite people - including Scottish basketball player Kieron Achara - to get involved.

"I just thought why not try and have a bit of fun in those weird times," the double Commonwealth medallist said.

"It started with serving into a toilet roll because that felt quite topical. And I've done some hitting [the shuttlecock] against the wall because that is part of our training, just to keep us holding a racket.

"And then that snowballed into some football. So it's just about trying to have some fun and encouraging other people to have fun, whether they are badminton players or just need some exercise to do."

Danish badminton player Mia Blichfeld started the trend by challenging her fellow players to serve into a mug, which Gilmour confesses to being "terrible" at. She tried using a roll of toilet paper as a target instead, surprisingly, to much greater success.

She said: "I got out my 500 shuttles and thought I'll hunker down for the afternoon, but I did it within six shuttles, and I was like, well what I am going to do with my day now? I just assumed I would be terrible at it."

The challenges fill the days and keep Gilmour engaged, but also ignite the competitive edge in every sports person.

"I'm trying to find way to keep in that competitive mindset and stay really attached to badminton, not be a million miles away from the competitive scene," she said.

With that in mind, Gilmour is open to ideas for her next challenge. "If anyone has any new ones, I'm all ears."

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