WITH the badminton season starting on Saturday a determined young player is hoping his time in Malaysia with the world’s number one singles player will rub off on him.
Andrew Gilliland (20) from Bearsden will compete in the Northumberland Seniors Badminton Championship tomorrow, followed by the West of Scotland Seniors Championships in Glasgow the next Saturday - and he’s hoping his experience in the east will bring him success.
The ex-Bearsden Academy pupil, who spent seven weeks in Malaysia over the summer rubbing shoulders with the likes of current world number one singles champion Lee Chong Wei, said: “I arranged the Malaysia trip myself through speaking to players on the Euro junior circuit and have become friends with over the years.
“I ended up living with the manager of world number one Lee Chong Wei.
“The training over there is of an entirely different level and the game is incredibly fast. I received one-to-one training every day - sometimes with former doubles world champion, Rexy Mainaky from Indonesia.
“I also attended weekly games sessions and twice weekly track sessions with the Malaysian National Men’s Singles back up team - which was conducted by former Men’s singles world champion from Indonesia, Hendrawan.
“It was an incredible experience and has definitely put me in good shape for the season ahead.”
Gilliland has been back in Scotland for three weeks now and says he is already wants to go back.
He said: “I have been invited back and if I can find the finance, I would definitely return for a longer period. It is a massive opportunity and an ideal place to train with the Commonwealth Games coming to Glasgow in 2014.”
The talented sportsman, from Antonine Road, Bearsden, who has been playing since he was three, added: “I’m really looking forward to the beginning of the season this weekend in Northumberland.
“The following weekend I’m back in Glasgow for the West Senior, and then I’m down to England again for the Wimbledon Gold.
“It’s an exciting times for me and I hope I can convert all the work I’ve done in training into quality performance for the season ahead.”
This will be Gilliland’s second season as a full senior player.
One of his main goals is the Scottish Senior National Championships in February where he is hoping to reach the finals.
He said: “Another big goal for the year is selection for the Thomas Cup in March which is the European Men’s Team Championships. The team is selected only a week or two after the Senior Nationals. Each team takes three singles players and two doubles pairs, so to be selected I need to be in the top three. I believe this is within my ability.”