With just 20 days to go until the fifth Commonwealth Youth Games get underway in Samoa, Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) has named Craig McLean from swimming as the flagbearer for Youth Team Scotland. Craig will have the honour of carrying the saltire into the Opening Ceremony, which takes place in the athletics stadium at the Apia Park Sports Complex in Samoa on 5 September 2015.
The announcement was made by CGS Chairman, Paul Bush OBE at the Team Camp held at the University of Stirling this weekend, which plays a key role in preparing the athletes and bringing them together as a team, ahead of departure for Samoa on 30 August.
Livingston swimmer Craig McLean (16) will represent Youth Team Scotland in six backstroke, freestyle and relay events in Samoa. He is a multiple British and Scottish Age Group medallist and record holder and this year became the 2015 British Junior and Scottish Schools Champion in 100m Freestyle. Craig has broken an incredible 48 Scottish Records and 7 British Records since 2012.
A pupil of Deans Community High School and training with Carnegie Swimming Club in Fife, Craig is an outstanding individual swimmer but also excels in relays and is very supportive to his teammates.
Craig was voted as flagbearer by his Scotland team-mates, after a shortlist of three was selected prior to the Team Camp. Fellow shortlisted nominees, athlete George Evans (Inverness) and boxer Kieran McMaster(Kilmarnock) will walk behind Craig into the Opening Ceremony, followed by the rest of the team.
A delighted Craig McLean said: “It will be a huge honour to be able to wave Scotland’s flag going into the arena, to lead the country at the start of the Commonwealth Youth Games, it’s a huge, huge honour, once in a lifetime. Coming here I didn’t think it would be me so it’s unbelievable that I’ve been picked and it’s the athletes that voted for me.
“I’m excited to be going out to Samoa, I’ve never been anywhere near and I’m looking forward to racing against the rest of the Commonwealth and hopefully going on to the next Commonwealth Games which is my main goal. It will be a great experience and hopefully a stepping stone. I aim to learn everything I can and then I’ll be able to progress and hopefully be able to move on to the senior team if all goes to plan.
“I’m pretty nervous but excited too. Everyone will be looking at Scotland, everyone back home, and it will be me leading them out. It will just be a fantastic experience.”
Congratulating Craig, Paul Bush said: “To be named as flagbearer for Youth Team Scotland is a fantastic honour and Craig’s selection is a direct reflection of his performances over the last few years. Not only is Craig a fantastic athlete but his attitude and commitment to his fellow team members makes him an excellent role model.
“The Youth Games is a fabulous opportunity for all 28 of our young team members to embrace the Commonwealth Games experience and mix with fellow athletes from across the globe, as well as getting their first taste of international competition in a multi-sport Games.
“I wish the whole of Youth Team Scotland the very best of luck as they embark on what we hope will be their first of many Commonwealth Games for Team Scotland and the start of their journey to future international success.”
The selection and announcement of the flagbearer is a longstanding tradition, and Craig will follow in the footsteps of Louise Carroll (hockey), Gemma Nicol (athletics), Lisa Glover (athletics) and Tom Holligan (athletics), who carried the flag at the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games.