It was a fantastic start to Samoa 2015 at the Apia Park Athletics Stadium where three athletes were in action for Youth Team Scotland. Discus thrower George Evans became the first Scottish medallist of the Games taking Silver behind the reigning World Junior Champion, swiftly followed by Bronze medals for sprinters Cameron Tindle and Alisha Rees.
“It feels amazing to be Scotland’s first medallist of the Games, said George. “Coming away with a Silver medal, only beaten by the World Champion is the best thing that could have happened. I knew there were two guys who were ranked two metres and four metres above me so I thought it would be close depending on what happened on the day. To come out and get second, it couldn’t have gone any better. It feels great to be the first but I’m sure there’s plenty more to come from everyone else.”
That was proved true just minutes later as Alisha Rees powered her way to Bronze in the women’s 100m, just one hundredth of second outside her PB. “I always knew a medal was a possibility but it’s all about performing on the day,” she said. “The wind was pretty much perfect so it was quite good conditions to run a fast time. I was really close to my PB but it’s about getting medals here. I’m really excited to get back on the track again, it puts me in a really good place for tomorrow in the 200m. Once someone has won a medal it puts everyone in a good place to win one so it’s really good to be one of the first, it’s a great feeling.
And the medals didn’t stop there. The day’s athletics action was rounded off by Cameron Tindle smashing his previous best to grab an unexpected Bronze in the men’s 100m. Coming into the event his best stood at 10.63 and from the morning’s heat it was clear he meant business, setting new figures of 10.47 to progress as fastest qualifier to the semi-finals. He was just one hundredth slower in booking his place in the final where he unleashed a late surge to clinch Bronze in another new best of 10.42.
“It means a lot because I’ve been working hard to even get selected for these Games. Since I’ve been selected I have been working mega hard to do everything I can to put myself in the best position to do well. To come away with a medal is great. My plan was to go in and run a PB, I wanted to run 10.4 this season so this was my last chance to do it. To run 10.47 in my heat it was great so everything from then on was a bonus. I just thought of my family back home and it drove me into third place. I had a look across and knew I had to go for the dip. I wasn’t expecting a medal. I knew going in I was placed about 5th going on my PB and I knew if I could run 10.4 it might grab me fourth or something like that. I didn’t realise I could come out with a medal so it was a shock but a nice shock.”
The early success for Youth Team Scotland has boosted a team spirit that was already booming. “Everyone is so supportive of each other,” said Alisha. We all want each other to do well. Everyone is saying good luck to each other in the morning and asking if you’re competing so it’s a really good atmosphere. Hopefully when I’m done on Wednesday I can get out and watch everyone and see more medals for Scotland.”