Exactly a week away from the Glasgow Games opening ceremony, Team Scotland’s lawn bowls team of 10 mainstream and seven para bowlers was working on their final preparation details at Kelvingrove.
The spectacular summer sunshine, the majestic museum backdrop and the recently installed stands, set to brim with spectators when the bowls competition starts next Thursday, have all turned the greens into a world class arena.
“It’s become really exciting now and the venue has taken amazing shape,” said Caroline Brown who, along with the rest of the bowls team, moves into the Athletes’ Village tomorrow.
“You can’t help but be excited that the Games is coming close now. We have all been working so hard towards it for such a long time that we are just looking forward to it starting now.”
Talk to any member of the Scotland bowls team and they are likely to tell you that this team is the best prepared ever.
Thousands of hours accumulated on the Kelvingrove greens will give Scotland’s top players the all important home advantage. A full team of coaches and support staff has left nothing to chance, whilst recent camps to bring athletes from all 17 sports together have helped gel the whole team.
“I’ve never played in a Games before, but the team around us is amazing, with psychologists and all sorts of other staff, as well as our own coaches,” said Para-Sport Open Triples player Kevin Wallace, a member of the team which won the 8 Nations Invitational at Kelvingrove a year ago.
“It’s been amazing to be part of the team camp with athletes from every other sport all wearing the same kit. And I’ve had a big boost in confidence from being on this week’s preparation camp at Kelvingrove.”
It’s impossible to predict the full effect that home support will give the Scots when they step out on the Kelvingrove greens in the coming weeks, but Caroline Brown believes that having her 10-year-old son, Kieran, watching most of her matches at Kelvingrove will make a big difference to her own performance.
It’s just as difficult to imagine exactly how it will feel to march out in front of a roaring crowd at Celtic Park in a week’s time, but Wallace has a pretty good idea.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and now it’s just a couple of days away it’s incredibly exciting,” he said.
“I can’t really explain it but my legs are like jelly knowing I’m going to be in the Opening Ceremony next Wednesday and bowling here at Kelvingrove afterwards. It’s going to be amazing.”
Photo credit: Rob Eyton-Jones