Bathgate’s Tommy Mann has waited patiently in the wings for his first big international opportunity.
He was travelling reserve for the successful Scotland team at last year’s World Championships. Prior to that he was sent to the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games as part of the Achieve programme for athletes to experience a multi-sport environment and benefit their own preparations for future medal success.
But things could be about to change for the 32 year old when Team Scotland’s bowls selection process for the Glasgow 2014 Games opens officially with this weekend’s 4 Nations Test event at Kelvingrove. Two teams from Scotland, ‘Clyde’ and ‘Kelvin’, will be competing in the event along with Ireland and Wales.
“I have experienced both events from the sidelines,” said the health and fitness club manager and former personal trainer who will skip the men’s Fours and Triples at Kelvingrove this weekend.
“I was fortunate enough to be in the Achieve programme in Delhi and to see the multi-sport team environment.
“And being selected as a reserve for the World Championship was my first opportunity to experience such a prestigious tournament and be out there with the guys. To be involved in that kind of success from a support point of view, was a great experience for me.
“So it would be a fantastic opportunity if I could be involved from a competitive point of view and to have that kind of experience in my own country would be second to none.”
Bowls is a core Commonwealth Games sport and since 1930 Scottish bowlers have won 13 gold, 7 silver and 8 bronze medals.
Mann, who plays for Newbridge and holds the Scottish Indoors Singles title, knows that as host nation next summer in Glasgow the fight to get a place in Team Scotland will be more intense than ever. The lure of the once in a life time opportunity to compete in a major Games in front of a home crowd is not something to be underestimated.
“In Delhi not a lot of the competitors had friends and family there whereas in Glasgow everyone will be there to watch us,” he said.
“There will be a lot of media hype, and there is a lot of backing behind us and at Kelvingrove we have a fantastic, brand-new venue. So to have all that and be able to compete in front of your own supporters it’s going to be an amazing opportunity if we are selected.”
Like all 20 Scotland elite squad players, Mann has been practicing on the newly laid Kelvingrove greens. Now he can’t wait to get his selection campaign off to the best possible start.
“The selection is open now so this will be the first real competitive opportunity we have got to put ourselves forwards and put ourselves in the selection criteria,” he concluded.
“There is only so much practice and preparation you can do. It’s now down to the nitty-gritty of competition and we are obviously looking forward to playing against two other home nation countries this weekend.”
For more information on Lawn Bowls go to: www.bowlsscotland.com
Photo credit: Rob Eyton-Jones