Sunday 22 October 2017

New €22m venue makes Irish Open the best in world - Evans

badminton

Scott Evans competes at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Scott Evans competes at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Barry Lennon

Scott Evans believes the Irish Badminton Open is now the "best competition of its kind" because of its new National Indoor Arena venue.

The event swaps its Baldoyle headquarters for the €22m multi-purpose centre in Abbotstown for the venue's first showcase this week.

"For this level of tournament, the Irish Open is the best in the whole world. It's going to attract more players from around the globe. Hopefully, in a few years it'll attract more money and sponsors," Evans says. "Badminton will always be in the background when compared with other sports like football, rugby, Gaelic football and hurling in Ireland. I find that hard to accept in a way."

The triple-Olympian made history in Rio by becoming first Irishman to win an Olympic singles match, notable for his shirtless celebration dubbed 'the full Evans'.

"It's been absolutely mental since then. Loads of media attention. A lot of people have come up to me saying, 'I don't recognise you with your shirt on,'" he says.

Evans, who plays in Denmark's badminton league, begins his campaign to reach Saturday's singles final against India's Subhankar Dey this morning.

The 29-year-old will hope to regain the title he won in 2012 becoming the first Irish player to claim the singles title in 39 years.

"It's something that means a lot to me because I watched it as a kid," Evans says. "There's something special about winning your home Open. Being my first international win after losing in eight finals, that was an incredible feeling."

Irish Independent

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