KIRSTY GILMOUR has had enough of hearing about bubbles. And understandably so. It has become one of the most overused phrases of the past 16 months alongside self-isolate, close contact and “you’re still on mute”.

Still, the restrictions set to be imposed on the athletes gathering for the Olympics ought to serve Gilmour well.

Scotland’s leading badminton player is a veteran of multi-sports events, having first travelled to Delhi as a 17-year-old for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

A decade on and the Glaswegian still enjoys the simplicity of sports village life that means mundane tasks like doing the shopping or cleaning the house can be forgotten about for a while.

And with the usual athlete parties and other Olympic razzamatazz not happening this time due to the pandemic, the 27 year-old reckons her focus will be even clearer this time as she eyes a place on the medal podium.

“This isn’t going to be a typical Olympic Games so there will be aspects that will be new for everyone,” she said.

“But I’ve done Youth Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Games, UK School Games, European Games, and Olympic Games all within that kind of village set-up and – and I hate this term – bubble. I think we’re all sick of that word now!

“But it lends itself well to me and my performance. I can shut everything out and you don’t have to think about the little things like going to the shops or cleaning or cooking.

“All the usual life admin you can forget about. It’s all taken care of. You just train, eat, sleep and compete. That’s all you’re there for. And for that short amount of time I oddly like it.”

Any distraction comes from getting caught up in how other athletes are performing and being tuned in to whatever sport is on TV at any given time.

“It’s always nice to feel part of something bigger than badminton at these events,” she added. “It’s really nice when we’re part of Team Scotland.

“I had just turned 17 when I went to my first Commy Games in Delhi in 2010. And at Birmingham next year I’ll be 28.

“So I’ll have known the organisers and many of the athletes for more than a decade by then. I cross paths with a lot of other athletes in the gym at the Emirates too which is nice.

“With Team GB, because I’m up in Scotland, I don’t know as many people and there are some bigger, global names in there. But there are quite a few Scottish folk involved this time and it’s always nice to have that connection wherever you are in the world.

“You can’t help getting drawn in when the Games are on and involved with some of the stories. That’s why everyone gets excited about the Olympics. I think it surprises people that don’t even like sport when they get quite into it, and the Paralympics too which is also amazing.

“We always have a wee TV in our apartment and I’m sure it will be the same this time around. And you just have on a constant cycle of sport, just watching whatever is on at that time. I guess it might be tougher for folk back home with the time difference but I’m sure people will still get up early or stay up late if they have to.”

Gilmour is a passionate advocate for her sport and has been using any spare time of late to help launch the Badminton Academy Social Enterprise (BASE).

Working in conjunction with her uncle David – a former player and coach – and a colleague Andrew Gallagher, the plan is to make badminton accessible to all while also making it as sociable as other sports.

Gilmour explained. “It’s exciting for me to be involved in this. It’s something that has been at the back of my mind for a while but wasn’t sure if I could do it. I hit shuttles for a living and have a film-making degree – I’m not equipped to do anything like this.

“So my uncle David and our friend Andrew – between them they have about 40 years’ of corporate experience. They’re the main guys on it. And it’s nice to work with a team that’s so passionate about spreading the word about badminton and making it a more social sport.

“It’s so high in participation when it comes to pay and play but lacks places like tennis, hockey, cricket and golf clubs where it becomes part of people’s social lives as well and provides hang-out spots. That’s what we want it to become and bring that to the badminton community.

“I’m trying to be as hands-on as I can in pitching to councils and things like that. I just enjoy being as positive as I can about badminton. It’s something that comes really easy to me.”