Team Scotland returned home from the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas on Monday 24 July with a bumper haul of medals, and memories to last a lifetime, after a hugely successful Games for our young athletes.
Following an incredible final day of competition which saw Rhona Callander claim Cycling’s first ever Youth Games gold, tennis player Hamish Stewart triumph in the Boys’ Singles and boxing take five medals, including gold for Tyler Jolly, Team Scotland ended the Games in fourth place on the medal table with a final tally of 8 gold, 6 silver and 7 bronze.
The total of 21 medals equals Scotland’s performance at the last Youth Games, two years ago in Samoa, while eight gold medals ranks as Scotland’s best Youth Games performance since the 2004 Games in Bendigo, where many fewer nations competed. Six of the seven sports won medals (Athletics, Boxing, Cycling, Judo, Swimming and Tennis), with the seventh, Beach Volleyball, coming agonisingly close with a narrow loss in the bronze medal match.
Eighteen athletes enjoyed medal success and, with three gold, one silver and one bronze, Scott McLay ended the Games as Scotland’s most successful Youth Games athlete in history, following an incredible few days in the pool. He eclipsed the record medal tally, set at the 2011 Youth Games, by fellow swimmer Craig Benson, who has gone on to compete in both Commonwealth and Olympic Games following his three gold and one silver in the Isle of Man.
There were also a number of firsts as Emily Ritchie claimed Team Scotland’s first Youth Games Judo medal with gold on the opening day of the Games, Dylan Hughes took a first medal for Cycling with Time Trial silver and Megan Gordon became the first Scottish female boxer, both to compete at a Youth Games and to win a medal, with bronze in the 51kg category.
Luke Robins, who took bronze in the 4x100m Mixed Freestyle Relay said: “A highlight for me was the Opening Ceremony, I’ve never got to do that before and I thought the one the Bahamas put on was incredible. It’s been great to see people from all round the world, it’s not often you get to race people from New Zealand, Australia and lot of the smaller countries too. It’s been a great week for meeting people and making friends from all different nations.”
Fiona Todman, who won Judo silver on the opening day of competition, said: I found the experience really special. I went to watch the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and having the opportunity to experience something similar and having all of Team Scotland behind us was really nice. It’s always amazing being a Judo medallist, but to do it at the first Youth Games for Judo is extra special.”
Colin Gregor, General Team Manager was delighted with the team’s performance and said: “I would like to congratulate each and every one of our athletes on a fantastic Games. Our aim was to ensure they had a really positive experience and it was an added bonus to come home with 21 medals. Every single one of them performed to their best and all the athletes have developed and grown through their experience at Bahamas 2017.
“Learning to perform when it counts at a multi-sport event is a big part of what the Commonwealth Youth Games is all about and our athletes now have great experiences to draw on as they embark on the next stage of their careers. They have been a credit to Team Scotland, to their sports and to their families.
“I would also like to say a big thank you to our hosts The Bahamas for a wonderful Games. The welcome they extended to us has been so warm and genuine and I hope that our athletes’ Youth Games moment stays with them for the rest of their lives.”