As a travelling reserve goal keeper for Scotland Women’s hockey team, Amy Gibson has first-hand experience of being in a Commonwealth Games squad. At the Delhi 2010 Games, Amy was an up and coming talent and travelled with the squad, ready to step in if the number one keeper became injured. However not getting the opportunity to step onto the pitch has fuelled her ambition and she is now determined that things will be different at Glasgow 2014.
“I was only 20, so I thought this is amazing. I’m only young and getting all this experience. It gave me a drive and a passion to actually play in a Commonwealth Games instead of just being the reserve. It helped me to see what I wanted to achieve and it was a really good insight into what I can do if I put my mind to it.”
Along with the other men’s and women’s reserves, Amy got to experience the Commonwealth Games Village for a few days, but to comply with tournament rules, they had to move out just before the competition got underway.
“I stayed in the village until the tournament started but then I was put in a nearby hotel and just went to see the games as a spectator. I also had quite a lot of free time so I got to see some other sports, so it was nice to get the all round experience of the Games, however I would much rather have been on the pitch.”
Born and raised in Dumbarton, Amy regularly passes through Glasgow and nearly three years after she was selected for the 2010 squad, she is excited about the prospect of competing in a home Games, on state of the art new pitches built at Glasgow Green which open to the public next month (July 2013) and says: “I was driving through Glasgow and I got a glimpse of the top of the new National Hockey Centre and I thought, oh my gosh, this is so exciting. So I pulled over and was amazed. Glasgow has never had anything on this scale before, it’s so thrilling!”
Amy started playing Hockey at the age of twelve and there was never been a doubt in her family’s mind as to the position she would be play, saying: “I use to be football mad so I really wanted to kick the ball instead of hit it. Also apparently I didn’t like running, so there was only one position for me, the goal keeper.”
Amy claims the transformation from backup, to starting goal keeper for the Scottish team has been achieved by dedication and hard work, but is quick to recognise the impact of both her time at Bellahouston Academy and the support fom the “Winning Students” programme, throughout her time in education, on her success.
“Bellahouston is a great place to get an athlete’s mindset. Taking part in activities such as strength and conditioning at an early stage in my hockey career gave me a head start over other girls and the best possible chance of success. My game has definitely improved and I wouldn’t be the player I am today without their support. Whilst Winning Students also opened doors for me that would not normally have been possible.”
Now the focus for Amy over the next few months is to perform to her potential and secure her place amongst the 16 players named on the team sheet next June. Her next major tournament takes her to Antwerp for the EuroHockey Championships from the 17-18 August.
You can follow Amy on Twitter @AmyGibson_29
Photo Credit: Alistair Devine