Ayrshire players for Badminton Scotland

Scotland have named three uncapped young prospects in their squad to contest the European men’s team championship in Russia from February 16-21.

Alex Dunn (Motherwell, 17), Adam Hall (Mauchline, 19) and Ben Torrance (Prestwick, 21) will be part of an eight-strong squad which will fly to Kazan on February 14. Hall will be 20 two days before they set off.

The three new boys will join Robert Blair (Glasgow), Martin Campbell (Edinburgh), Matthew Carder (South Queensferry), Patrick MacHugh (Glasgow) and Kieran Merrilees (Glasgow), in the team.

Dunn is the reigning Scottish National Under 21 singles and doubles champion but all three debutants have won the National Under 19 singles title in the last four years after dominating as they came through the age group championships and their selection gives Scotland options in singles and doubles.

The Scotland squad can also draw on the experience of 34-year-old Robert Blair, a former world men’s doubles silver medallist, while Kieran Merrilees is the most capped Scotland player in the squad with 33 appearances.

The Championship is also the European qualifying round for the Thomas Cup men’s world team championship. The draw will take place on Thursday.

The senior squad will be joined in Kazan by Scotland’s Under 15 team who will be competing in the European Junior Championship, which takes place there at the same time.

Adam Pringle and Joshua Apiliga’s performances at the recent Carlton International Youth Championship in Holland ensured their selection.

The Glasgow pair, runners-up in the boys’ doubles in Holland, are joined by Rachel Cameron (Musselburgh) and Rachel Sugden (Alexandria) for the trip to Kazan where they will contest the individual events. All four players will compete in singles and level doubles.

Apiliga is the reigning Scottish National Under 15 singles champion and also won the doubles with Pringle, while Cameron is the singles and doubles champion, having defeated Sugden in both finals.

A total of 162 players from 34 nations will compete in the U15 Europeans.

BADMINTONscotland also announced their squad for the European Under 17 Championship in the Polish city of Lubin from March 17-25.

The Under 17 squad includes Pringle’s brother Ciar as well as the exciting Glasgow twins Christopher and Matthew Grimley, who competed in the Scottish Open Grand Prix at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena in November and reached the second round of the men’s doubles.

Glen Lewington (Edinburgh) is the fourth boy in the squad while Lily Farnood (Edinburgh), Lauren Middleton (Dundee), Sarah Sidebottom (Rothesay) and Torrance’s sister Ciara (Prestwick) complete the line-up.

The team events runs from March 17-21 and the individual events from 21-25.

Thirty-three teams will be competing and the team draw is on January 26 with the individual draw on March 8. Scotland will be looking to improve on joint 17th place when the last championship was staged in Ankara in 2014 when Edinburgh’s Julie MacPherson won a bronze medal in singles.

Diana Koleva is head coach for both Under 15 and Under 17 tournaments with Karen Stalker team manager for the Under 17s.

BADMINTONscotland Chief Executive Anne Smillie said: “All three squads reflect the progress our young players are making in the junior ranks and we look forward to seeing how they handle themselves on the European stage.

“The senior Europeans represent a great opportunity for us to integrate three of our most promising young players alongside our established players.”