With only 300 days to go until the start of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) announced the first 27 athletes to be selected to represent Team Scotland.
After a busy and successful summer of sporting action across all 17 sports on the Games programme, athletes from two sports have now produced the necessary performances to lay claim to a coveted place on the Team, for what promises to be an amazing home Games.
Scottish Athletics have had 23 athletes named today, alongside four squash players and a total of 19 will make their Commonwealth Games debut in Glasgow.
The first athletes with their names inked on the team sheet are marathon runners Susan Partridge and Derek Hawkins, who posted the required times back in April at the London Marathon. Susan, who went on to finish 10th at this year’s World Championships in Moscow is set to be one of the oldest Scottish representatives in athletics at a Commonwealth Games at the age of 34.
Derek Hawkins the Kilbarchan AAC athlete was Scottish Cross Country champion in 2011 and 2012 but moved to the marathon late in 2012 making a very impressive debut at the distance in Germany with 2.14. Derek then was the best British finisher in the 2013 London Marathon.
On the track Scotland’s women have also had a stellar season with 2010 silver medallist 400m hurdler Eilidh Child, Eilish McColgan in the steeplechase and Laura Muir at 800m and 1500m all making their mark in international competition. 2010 bronze medallist Steph Twell has continued to make a strong recovery from serious injury to secure her place in the 5000m and will be joined by Laura Whittle.
Laura Muir, the veterinary medicine student from Glasgow University, has had a huge 2013. She reached the final of the European Indoors at 1500m, won bronze at the European U23s at the same distance in Finland and was then selected for Great Britain at the World Championships at 800m, where she reached the semi-finals.
There is also good news for the women, who have had their 4x400m relay place confirmed, with athletes to be named next year.
Scotland’s 800m champion Guy Learmonth grew up in the Scottish Borders playing rugby with British Lion Stuart Hogg. He posted two late-season qualifying standard performances at the two-lap distance after missing out on the European U23 Championships earlier in the summer much to his frustration. He is one of only two men’s track representatives announced today, along with USA based Chris O’Hare in the 1500m.
Team Scotland is also set to be well represented on the track in the Para-Sport events for the very first time.
Libby Clegg will compete in the T12 100m and would love to add to her collection of major championship medals when she makes her debut for Scotland in Glasgow. Educated at the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh, Libby won silver at the Paralympics in London and then two more silvers at the IPC World Champs in Lyon over 100m and 200m this summer.
20-year-old Meggan Dawson-Farrell from Alloa is an established world-class wheelchair athlete who will compete in the T54 1500m at Hampden Park. The qualifying standard for Scottish athletes is at 4.31 and Meggan has been under four minutes on a couple of occasions in the past season, despite undergoing extensive surgery this year. Meggan holds the Scottish record for every distance from the 400m to the Marathon. She will be joined in this event by 17 year old Samantha Kinghorn from Kelso, the youngest athlete to be selected so far. Her achievements since taking up the sport 12 months ago, following a freak accident, are nothing short of remarkable, going from a beginner to a fully fledged international para-athlete ranked second in Europe in her T53 classification. She will compete up a classification in Glasgow.
The growing strength of Scottish athletes in field events shows in the11 athletes who also booked their places on the team. They include three Hammer throwers, Mark Dry, Andy Frost and Susan McKelvie (with Mark heading the Commonwealth rankings); four High Jumpers (Allan Smith, David Smith, Jayne Nisbet and Emma Nuttall); two Long Jumpers (Jade Nimmo and Sarah Warnock); and the new Scottish record holder in the Pole Vault, Jax Thoirs. 18-year- old Nick Percy from the Isle of Wight qualifies in the Discus despite having just stepped up to senior level this year. He is a double medallist from the last Commonwealth Youth Games in Isle of Man in 2011.
The four squash players, who have had their selection confirmed, have great experience particularly in doubles events, with three of them having represented Team Scotland before at a total of five Commonwealth Games. After finishing just outside the medals in Delhi, they are determined to go at least one better. Alan Clyne will compete in all three squash events including the men’s singles, whilst Harry Leitch and Alex Clark will compete in doubles and Frania Gillen-Buchert in women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Making the announcement Team Scotland Chef de Mission, Jon Doig said: “I am extremely pleased to announce the first 27 athletes selected for Team Scotland. We have witnessed some amazing performances from athletes this summer striving to secure their places to represent Team Scotland at our home Games next year.
“Congratulations to each and every one of them and they can now go into their winter training period fully focused on reaching their peak performance next July in front of a fired-up home crowd.
“I am confident that over the next nine months they will be joined by a record number of fellow Scots, as we aim to have our largest and most successful team ever at Glasgow 2014.”
Adding her congratulations, Commonwealth Games and Sports Minister Shona Robison said: “I congratulate the first athletes selected to represent Team Scotland at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. This announcement marks an important step for Team Scotland and I wish all other Scottish athletes good luck as they aim to follow these 27 athletes to Glasgow.
“As the excitement and anticipation for these Games builds across the country, I look forward to watching our athletes compete at Scotland’s biggest ever sporting event. I’m confident that with the significant investment fromsportscotland, our high performance athletes, combined with their own commitment and dedication to their sports, will ensure that Team Scotland shines in Glasgow and have their best ever Games.”
Many of the athletes announced today have benefited from the support of sportscotland the national agency for sport and in particular from the high performance support and expertise provided by the sportscotland institute of sport.
Endorsing the selections, Chief Executive of sportscotland Stewart Harris, said: “Congratulations to all 27 athletes who have been selected for Team Scotland. The first selection announcement by Commonwealth Games Scotland means we are fast approaching the Opening Ceremony, so it is a really exciting time for sport in this country.
“All the Games partners are collaborating closely to deliver a magnificent event for the people of Scotland next summer, and the work being done by the experts at the sportscotland institute of sport and the Scottish governing bodies of sport ensures that Team Scotland’s athletes will be the best ever prepared going into a Commonwealth Games.”
Nigel Holl, CEO, scottishathletics commented: “In adding the congratulations of the Governing Body to all the athletes, their coaches and support teams, can I emphasis both the opportunity and responsibility that comes with this early selection. These 23 athletes have earned the right to now plan and prepare across the heavy winter training period and into the Commonwealth Season with the specific aim of performing to their best when it counts – Hampden Park or the surrounding Marathon roads in July next summer. They deserve to be smiling today – they have earned this selection through years of hard work, commitment and sacrifice. They will also know that harder work, bigger challenges, and further commitment lies ahead!
“Five of the athletes selected and announced today had the experience of the World Championships in Moscow earlier this summer, and they all showed how to step up and perform on the biggest stage when it counts. Glasgow next year for the whole team is that “biggest stage”, and I know the athletes selected today, and those that will follow later in the selection window, will strive to perform to their best and be heroes and heroines to young people across Scotland.”
Susan Partridge, Marathon (Sowerby Bridge)
Derek Hawkins, Marathon (Elderslie)
Libby Clegg, T12 100m (Newcastleton)
Eilidh Child, 400m Hurdles (Kinross)
Guy Learmonth 800m (Berwick upon Tweed)
Chris O’Hare 1500m (West Linton)
Laura Muir, 1500m (Milnathort, Kinross)
Meggan Dawson-Farrell, T54 1500m (Tullibody)
Samantha Kinghorn, T54 1500m (Kelso)
Eilish McColgan 3000m Steeplechase (Carnoustie)
Laura Whittle, 5000m (Loughborough)
Stephanie Twell, 5000m (Twickenham)
Mark Dry, Hammer (Moray)
Andrew Frost, Hammer, (Broxburn)
Susan McKelvie, Hammer, (Broxburn)
Nicholas Percy, Discus (Isle of Wight)
Allan Smith, High Jump (Edinburgh)
David Smith, High Jump (Barrhead, Glasgow)
Jayne Nisbet, High Jump (Edinburgh)
Emma Nuttall, High Jump (Edinburgh)
Jade Nimmo, Long Jump (Falkirk)
Sarah Warnock, Long Jump (Prestonpans)
Jax Thoirs, Pole Vault (Glasgow)
Women’s 4x400m Relay
Alan Clyne, Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles (Inverness/Edinburgh)
Harry Leitch, Men’s Doubles (Edinburgh)
Frania Gillen-Buchert, Women’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles (Edinburgh)
Alexandra Clark, Women’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles (Edinburgh)