Team Scotland’s boxers are into their final few days at team camp on the Sunshine Coast and they’re fully focused on the ultimate prize – a gold medal on the Gold Coast.
Tapering off to fight time, the boxers are enjoying a few lighter sessions and some down time in the heat.
Preparing to compete at his first Commonwealth Games, Stephen Newns is full of praise for the facilities on Sunshine Coast and the support the boxers have received in the lead into competition.
“Preparation has been great, and the training programme has been spot-on,” he said. We’ve all followed it. The food we are getting has been fantastic, as has the weather of course.”
There has also been some positive fighting talk from a team that is well prepared and raring to get into the Village and then into the ring.
Reece McFadden will compete in his second Games, having won bronze at Glasgow 2014, and is keen to place higher on the podium this time round. “Everyone is in the same mentality, to get the gold,” he said, a sentiment echoed by fellow Glasgow 2014 competitor Scott Forrest as he added: “I’ve got my eyes on gold. If you’ve got your eyes on anything less in this sport then you shouldn’t be here.”
While the camp is full of positivity, with the Boxing draw being unseeded, a tough first round opponent is a real possibility for all boxers. They will have to wait until the day before competition to discover who they will face in the opening bout and will then have to negotiate several rounds on route to a potential medal.
With some of the team having experienced the buzz around a home Games at Glasgow 2014 first-hand, they know the importance of support from friends and family, whether they’re near or far.
“The support is great back home, said Aqeel Ahmed, who placed fifth in the 49kg category in Glasgow. “My family, friends and club are really supporting me and they know how much it means to me to try and win a medal.”
“The support I’ve had has been overwhelming,” added Reece McFadden. “It’s amazing to see all of Scotland right behind you.”
Now it’s time to put the preparation and the positivity into practice and see what treasures they can take home to Scotland for all their supporters to see.