WORLD silver medallist Imogen Bankier is coming home to focus on Glasgow 2014.
The 24-year-old from Milngavie is throwing her full weight behind the Commonwealth Games on her return to Scotland for the next phase of her badminton career.
She has quit the Great Britain Badminton Programme following her showing at the London Olympics.
The decision is a real boost for Scottish badminton, especially coming just a week after Bankier’s Team GB team-mate Susan Egelstaff announced her retirement.
Bankier said: “The environment and the new programme in Milton Keynes just weren’t working out for me.
“I really benefited from my years there and I owe a lot to my coaches and to the team that supported me, but I don’t believe that the Rio Plan and the way it is being implemented will help me to improve as a player.”
The former High School of Glasgow pupil reckons that helping Scotland to achieve Commonwealth Games success is now her number on goal, adding, “I know that BADMINTONscotland will do everything in their power to put the necessary support in place, not just for me, but for the whole team.”
Welcoming the news BADMINTONscotland chief executive, Anne Smillie, said: “Naturally we are delighted that Imogen has decided to base herself back in Scotland and concentrate her efforts and commitment on bringing success to Scotland at Glasgow 2014. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to do well at a Commonwealth Games in their own back yard?”
Bankier gained widespread international recognition at Wembley Arena in August last year when she and her English mixed playing partner Chris Adcock won an unexpected silver medal in the mixed doubles at the Yonex BWF World Championships and broke into the top 10 in the world rankings.
In April they followed that success by winning a bronze medal at the European Championships in Sweden, a performance which secured their Olympic place in the Team GB squad for London 2012.
Although they failed to reproduce their world silver medal form on their return to Wembley at London 2012, being knocked out in the first round, the partnership ended on a high at the weekend when Bankier and Adcock produced some big wins to reach the semi-final of the Yonex French Open.
Meanwhile Bankier was at the new Emirates Arena in Glasgow yesterday (Wednesday) to conduct a series of coaching sessions with schoolchildren as part of BADMINTONscotland and Glasgow Life’s initiative in the run-up to the Scottish International Badminton Championships, which will be held at the Arena from November 21-25.