A young Scottish badminton enthusiast has played the game of his dreams against one of the sport’s top hopefuls for this year’s Commonwealth Games – as well as raising awareness of a top cancer charity.
Ross Davidson, from Clydebank, took up the challenge of going head-to-head with Kirsty Gilmour, one of Scotland’s brightest medal hopes when the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games burst into life in July.
Kirsty, 20, from Bothwell in Lanarkshire, is a star athlete ambassador for NVT Group, Scotland’s largest independently-owned ICT solutions company, which helped set up the game of Ross’s dreams.
NVT’s Managing Director, Stephen Park Brown, met mum Lynne Davies along with Ross and Becca at the launch of the newly formed Beatson Cancer Charity. Stephen was so touched by the family’s experience and their connection with the Beatson that he offered to set up the match.
Ross’s sister Becca, 16, raised £10,000 for the Beatson Cancer Charity, which is one of NVT Group’s nominated charities, by shaving off her hair. Becca and Ross’s connection with the Beatson stems from a personal tragedy. Their late father was a patient in the world-renowned unit and benefitted hugely from care and attention of its dedicated and professional staff.
Whilst Ross did not go so far as shaving off his hair for the game with Kirsty, he still felt some trepidation about facing a sporting star of Kirsty’s stature at the Scotstoun Sports Campus in Glasgow.
Before the match he said: “Kirsty is No. 3 in the Commonwealth and No. 20 in the world. She has won 16 Scottish titles and a host of international badminton titles. I think I have a fair idea of who might be the eventual winner.”
Kirsty, who has been playing badminton since she was five, will be supported by NVT all the way to the Emirates Arena, where she has just been announced as a member of Team Scotland.
NVT is supporting five athlete ambassadors at the moment – as well as Kirsty, it backs cyclist James McCallum who is also hoping to be selected by Team Scotland to compete in the Games. NVT also supports lawn bowler Ellen Falkner, wrestler Leon Rattigan and table tennis star Kelly Sibley, all of whom are training hard and aiming for Team England selections.
Also at the match between Ross and Kirsty was Sarah Allan, who is backing the Commonwealth Games as a clyde-sider. Sarah, who will be volunteering at Kirsty’s events in the Emirates Arena, is also involved in coaching young people.
NVT, which is the Official Technology Services Integrator for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, has a long-standing policy of supporting local charities and sporting endeavours.
Stephen Park Brown, founder of NVT, said: “Kirsty is a wonderful ambassador not only for badminton but for sport in general and it was typically generous of her to agree to face young Ross in what was the match of his life.
“Ross and Becca have been through a lot recently and they are moving on with their lives in a spirited and courageous manner. NVT Group is delighted to be able to help and support such admirable young Scots.”