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Sportswoman turns her back on profession to focus on business career

A British medal-winning Badminton player has decided to turn her back on the sport and instead dedicate her future to opening up a branch of the business her father owns.
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While many professional sports people may be wondering what they are going to do after old father time calls an end to competing at the highest level, Imogen Bankier has decided to control her disunity by having up the proverbial racquet and moving into business.

After winning a silver medal at the World Championships in 2011, Bankier will now look to start and grow a Paris branch of her father’s company – The Whisky Shop.

In an interview with BBC Scotland, Bankier said that it had taken her a year to fully come to terms with the decision, but she no longer had the motivation to compete at the top.

The Whisky Shop claims to do business with more than 2.5m customers each year across its estate of 22 shops in the UK. Bankier’s father, Ian, is the managing director of Burn Stewart Whisky Distillers and executive chairman and part-owner of Glenkeir Whiskies – which operates The Whisky Shop chain. Baniker reportedly purchased the company for £1.5m in 2004.

Imogen Bankier believes that she has achieved “many of the goals” she had set out to achieve when she was ten years-old. She now has “nothing left that is really driving me forward” and believes that without 100 per cent motivation it was time to move on to something new.

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In June, Real Business looked at the five best and five worst sports stars who had tried their hand at business. Amongst the best was tennis player Maria Sharapova, who has built Sugarpova Sweets, and George Forman, whose fat-reducing grills have sold 100m times around the world.

On the flip side, footballer Keith Gillespie had some poorly-executed film investments which resulted in massive tax liabilities and baseball player Curt Shilling experienced highs and lows in the video games space.

Bankier further explained her decision to move into business by saying to BBC Scotland that leaving the sport now gives her a chance to “start afresh in a brand new career”. She added: “I knew I had other ambitions and things I wanted to do and achieve and explore while I’m still young and not in my late 30s.”

Dame Kelly Holmes: The overlap between sport and business

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About Author

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven is the editor of Real Business. He is also the editor of Business Advice, a title focused solely on a section of the business community currently underserved – micro companies. Alongside this, he is part of the team that hosts the Growing Business Awards, First Women Awards and Future 50 initiative.

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