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Badminton: Work of Yun Luo offers eastern promise for the Scottish game

Finals day at the Scottish International Badminton Championships enjoyed a distinctly Asian influence as Japanese players took home three of the five titles on offer and India's Anand Pawar claimed the men's singles crown.

Only England's Marcus Ellis and Gabby White, who won the mixed doubles, were able to stymie the eastern promise on show.

So why are the Asian countries able to send young teams to tournaments such as this, as the Japanese and Korean associations did, and be so dominant? They are clearly doing something that countries in the west of the world are not in terms of training.

Scotland has been trying to discover the secret by working with Yvette Yun Luo, a former China internationalist who, for the past three years, has held the position of Scottish national team coach.

I trained under Yun Luo for two and a half years until my retirement after the London Olympics. She is undoubtedly a world-class coach but she is not for the faint-hearted and her brutal honesty can be hard to take at times.

Yun Luo will be at the helm until the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 at least, and while it would be optimistic to expect her to revolutionise badminton in this country during the next 20 months, she will certainly do everything possible to ensure the sport is in the strongest position possible when the Games roll into town.

So, why does she think that British badminton lags so far behind the Asian nations? "The competition is so strong for places in the Asian countries that the players have to fight extremely hard in training to ensure that they are not left behind," she said.

"Western coaches are too positive. In Asia, the coaches are much harsher and will always give an honest opinion. I think that western coaches are reluctant to deal with players' weaknesses. No-one likes being told that they're bad at things but you need to get a balance between the good and the bad."

My time working with Yun Luo taught me that any positive feedback was almost always followed with a weakness being flagged up.

Another advantage that Asian players hold was displayed at the Emirates Arena over the weekend. A trademark of the Japanese women's singles players, in particular, is their unerring consistency and they are notorious for having long matches such is their patience.

"The Asians are able to do this so well because they practice like this day-in, day-out," said Yun Luo. "Our players are only able to play well when they're fresh."

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