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Imogen Bankier quits GB badminton team

Imogen Bankier, Scotland’s highest ranked badminton player, has resigned from the Great Britain programme because she has no confidence in her sport’s plan for the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

She will now focus on success for Scotland at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Bankier, daughter of the Celtic FC chairman, won World Championship silver and European bronze with Chris Adcock and the pair broke into the world top 10 to form Team GB’s mixed doubles partnership at the London Olympics. Now that partnership is over.

But she said: "There is no way back for me with Great Britain, but I could not compromise with a GB programme in which I have no confidence."

The pair claimed significant scalps in reaching the semi-finals of the Yonex French Open at the weekend in what will be their last appearance together.

"The GB programme is geared towards long-term development of a system for British badminton, but I don’t believe the environment and the programme at Milton Keynes are the best way forward for me, for Rio in 2016."

Her decision comes just a week after Scotland’s leading singles player, Olympic team-mate Susan Egelstaff, announced her retirement.

Bankier stressed in an exclusive interview with The Herald that she acknowledged extensive benefits from nearly six years at the sport's headquarters, and coaches and support staff there.

"But I no longer have the quality of competition to spar against, and don’t feel the need to be there Sunday through Friday in order to spend six hours [two hours three days a week] on court with Chris. I can do the rest of my programme every bit as well, if not better, at home with Badmintonscotland in Glasgow."

She is the third Scot to walk away from Britain's elite performance centre, following Egelstaff and Robert Blair. While some may see a pattern in a failure to accommodate these players, Bankier insists: "This is not about Scotland v England, or Great Britain over Scotland.

"It's simply that I don't feel the programme is right for me. There was no consultation with any of the players, and when I tried to discuss it, they were not prepared to compromise, but neither am I."

As Adcock is English, Bankier who has appeared 42 times for Scotland, will now focus on finding a mixed and possibly ladies doubles partner for 2014.

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