Team Scotland picked up a stunning six medals on the first day of competition in Birmingham, with the day very much belonging to para-cyclist Neil Fachie, who won Scotland’s first gold medal of the Games.
Fachie, 38, and his sighted pilot Lewis Stewart, set a new Commonwealth Games record of 59.938 seconds in the men’s tandem 1,000m time trial, becoming the joint most decorated Team Scotland athlete alongside bowler Alex Marshall, with five gold medals.
Neil said “This is pretty special; it’s genuinely mind blowing. Coming into that final lap you know it’s do or die. You can hear the crowd and I gave it everything I had. It really, really hurt but it’s so worth it when you get to stand on top of that podium.”
More success in the cycling followed – with Aileen McGlynn and Ellie Stone taking silver in the Tandem Sprint, whilst Libby Clegg placed fourth. Commenting on her success, Aileen said, “the final was hard and we knew we had to go out really hard against the Aussies as they are strong and quite jostly as well. We gave it everything we had but we just got beat on the line – we gave it everything we had.”
Over in Sutton Coldfield, Beth Potter took Scotland’s first medal of the Games. The former British 10,000m runner had an outstanding swim which she led from the front, before a strong cycle and a solid run section sitting in third place throughout.
Meanwhile in the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, the roof was raised as Ross Murdoch won an outstanding bronze in the 200m breaststroke. Murdoch, who retired for 11 weeks in December, snatched bronze behind world record holder Zac Stubblety-Cook and close friend and English rival James Wilby. Teenager Katie Shanahan was overcome with emotion after claiming a shock bronze medal in the women’s 400m IM, and that was followed by another for Toni Shaw in the women’s 100m freestyle S9.
Scotland women’s hockey team got off to a winning start in Birmingham with a 4-2 victory over South Africa. Charlotte Watson opened the scoring with an excellent finish across the goalkeeper before South Africa managed to get themselves 2-1 ahead. Sarah Robertson equalised for Scotland before Fiona Burnet’s near post deflection put the Scots back in front. Jen Eadie sealed the victory with a strike from the top of the D to earn a 4-2 victory.
Scotland men’s hockey team drew a sensational game with New Zealand. Scotland came out flying and surged into a 5-1 lead at half time through goals by Rob Harwood; Callum Mackenzie; Cammy Golden and a double for his brother, Jamie Golden. The Kiwis battled back in the final quarter and pulled the score back to 5-5. Both sides gave their all to find a winner but it ended all square. Scotland’s Alan Forsyth won his 200th combined Scotland and GB in the match.
Scotland’s Basketball 3×3 competition got underway at the impressive Smithfield facility as a Scottish women’s team took to the court for the first time in Commonwealth Games history. Despite getting off to a strong start, the win wasn’t to be and Australia picked up a 21-9 win. The evening session proved more successful for the women as they put in a quick defeat over Sri Lanka, ending 21-5 with 45 seconds still on the clock.
The men’s running team came out flying as they picked up a win over Sri Lanka in the afternoon session. The game was tight for the first seven minutes, with Scotland only taking the lead in the final two to end 16-9. Playing Canada later in the day proved to be equally as tight for the Scottish men who eventually pulled it out the bag with a nerve-wracking 21-20 win. If they win their third match against Kenya on Sunday, today’s two wins have set the men in prime position to take the top ranking in the pool and continue straight through to semi-finals on Monday.
Representing another Games first, the wheelchair competition kicked off as Scotland’s women played Australia under the floodlights. The match against the World number three team proved difficult, however, with the team from down under winning 12-5.
The Women’s Rugby 7s team made history when they took to the field for the first time in a Commonwealth Games. Despite a 31-12 loss to Olympic medallists Fiji in their opening match of competition, tries were scored by Shona Campbell and Rhona Lloyd with Helen Nelson adding one conversion. In the evening session they fell to a heavy defeat by Australia, who are ranked number one in the world, 50 points to nill.
Team Scotland’s Men top Pool B of the competition at the end of day one with final standings to be decided in the morning against South Africa. In their opening match of the tournament they won 41-0 over Tonga with a hat-trick of tries from Femi Sofolarin and further tries from Jake Henry, Jordan Edmunds, captain Jamie Farndale and Alec Coombes, Kaleem Baretto converting two scores. In this evenings match match they cantered to a 50-12 victory over Malaysia with a hat-trick by Henry, Sofolarin, Alec Coombes, with Lee Jones and Matt Davidson bagging two tries each. Davidson added three conversions.
Elsewhere, boxer Reese Lynch overpowered Kiribati’s Timon Aaree and secured a first-round stoppage within three minutes. Reese will now face India’s Shiva Thapa on Sunday 31st July in the Light Welterweight Round of 16
Scotland flagbearer, Badminton’s Kirsty Gilmour set the tone for the Mixed Team, with Callum Smith; Eleanor O’Donnell and Ciara Torrance; Alex Dunn and Matthew Grimley all going on to record 2-0 victories over their respective opponents from the Maldives and securing a dominant 5-0 win overall. The Mixed Team will play Uganda tomorrow in the second of their three group stage ties.