Prestigious crown for badminton star Imogen Bankier

Imogen Bankier
Imogen Bankier

RACQUET ace Imogen Bankier from Milngavie proved she is the best of Scottish by winning the Lonsdale Trophy last Saturday.

The badminton star, pictured, took the prestigious award, title of Scottish Sportsperson of 2011, and a cheque for £1000, at the annual Commonwealth Games Dinner at Glasgow’s Radisson Blu Hotel, held in partnership with Glasgow 2014.

Imogen (23) is the first badminton player to win the trophy, fighting off competition from last year’s winner, swimmer Hannah Miley and cyclist John Paul, following a year of career highs for the local girl.

She missed the dinner as she was competing in the Yonex French Open in Paris, but speaking later, she said: “It’s a great honour to win this prestigious award and I would like to thank everyone who has helped me with the success that has come my way in the last year.

“Hopefully there is still more to come from me and Chris.”

Imogen and doubles partner, England’s Chris Adcock, took the silver medal at the World Badminton Championships last August and she became the first player representing Scotland to make it to the final.

The unseeded pairing defeated the 8th, 15th, 4th and 2nd seeds in their run at the Wembley Arena, only narrowly missing out on the number one spot.

This performance, along with the mixed doubles title at the Scottish International Championships in Glasgow, wins in Ireland and Italy, and semi-final and quarter-final appearances in Germany and China, have catapulted the badminton duo up the world rankings, recently reaching a career best of number 11.

As the Olympic qualifying race reaches the halfway stage, the Anglo-Scottish pair are now real contenders for London 2012.

Michael Cavanagh, Commonwealth Games Scotland chairman, said: “Imogen has had a wonderful year, which of course includes her fantastic silver medal at the world championships.

“She has shown great strength and determination to get to where she is just now, and her mindset will no doubt see her success continue.

“Imogen is a worthy Lonsdale Trophy winner, and I would like to wish her all the best as she looks towards London 2012, and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.”

Anne Smillie, chief executive of BADMINTONscotland, added: “Imogen has proved a great ambassador for Scottish badminton.

“She has enjoyed tremendous success over the last 12 months and I’m sure there’s a lot more to come from her.

“We need players like Imogen achieving success on the world stage to encourage all the young players coming into our sport.”