We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of swimming great David Wilkie MBE on 22 May, at the age of 70, following a battle with cancer.

Born in Sri Lanka, where his Scottish parents were stationed at the time, David is the only person to have held British, American, Commonwealth, European, World and Olympic swimming titles at the same time. He won 200m Breaststroke bronze for Scotland at the Edinburgh 1970 Commonwealth Games at the age of 16 and announced himself on the global stage with silver in the same event at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.

Two gold and a silver at the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games was followed by his greatest triumph as he won Olympic gold in world record time at Monteral 1976 in the 200m Breaststroke, also taking silver in the 100m event.

Also a three time World champion and twice European champion, David was European Swimmer of the Year three times and was named British Sports Personality of the Year in 1975. He was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1982 and in 2002 was one of the inaugural inductees into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.

Jon Doig OBE, Chief Executive, Commonwealth Games Scotland said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of one of Scotland’s sporting greats in David Wilkie.  

“He was an inspiration to so many and his record on the international stage was outstanding.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time, and we share their pride in all he achieved.” 

Matthew Ward and Niamh Trainer, flag bearers at the Commonwealth Youth Games last summer, were Team Scotland’s representatives at the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey on Monday 11th March.

Both athletes shared their sporting achievements with school children and took part in media activity before the service, with netball player Niamh then joining athletes from England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the procession down the aisle. Matthew, who won seven medals in the pool at Trinbago 2023, was given the honour of mace bearer, leading the Royal Family in and out of the Abbey.

“It was an honour to have taken part in the service and hold the mace,” said Matthew, reflecting on his experience.

“It was an once in a lifetime opportunity and I will forever cherish it.”

Commonwealth Day is celebrated across the Commonwealth on the second Monday in March every year. It provides an opportunity to promote understanding on global issues, international cooperation, and the work of Commonwealth organisations, including the Commonwealth Games Federation. The Commonwealth Service takes place in the presence of some 2,000 guests including Members of The Royal Family, Commonwealth and UK dignitaries, diplomatic representatives, and members of the public, in addition to young people from across the UK.

“I was very honoured and grateful to be invited,” said Niamh. “It was a truly awesome experience to represent Scotland in celebrating the unity of the Commonwealth. To be surrounded by excellent athletes and so many inspiring people from all over the world made it a brilliant and unforgettable day.”

Team Scotland returned home from the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad & Tobago on Saturday 12th August 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 an incredible eight medals won across Track Cycling and Athletics, Team Scotland ended the Games with their best ever placing on the medal table in 3rd with a final tally of 12 gold, 11 silver and 5 bronze.

The total of 28 medals was a fantastic achievement and 12 gold medals equals Scotland’s best ever Youth Games performance at the 2004 Games in Bendigo, where many fewer nations competed.

Five of the seven sports won medals (Athletics, Cycling, Rugby 7s, Swimming and Triathlon), with Netball coming agonisingly close with a narrow loss in the bronze medal match, while Beach Volleyball also acquitted themselves well against older and more experienced opposition, finishing 7th.

28 of the 49 athletes enjoyed medal success and, with four gold and three silver, Matthew Ward 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 2017 Youth Games, by fellow swimmer Scott McLay, who went on win a medal at the Gold Coast 2018 Games on the back of his three gold, one silver and one bronze in the Bahamas.

Swimmer Holly McGill and cyclist Sarah Johnson became just the second and third female athletes to win two gold medals for Scotland at a Youth Games, both returning home with two gold and a silver.

Sarah was part of a strong Cycling contingent, that contributed an incredible eleven medals to the overall tally. Elliot Rowe won Team Scotland’s first medal of Trinbago 2023 with Time Trial silver on the road, before Millie Thomson won Scotland’s first ever Youth Games track cycling medal with bronze on the Points Race, going on to win three medals: a silver and two bronze. Calum Moir was also a multi-medal winner in the velodrome with two gold, a silver and a bronze.

There were also a number of firsts as the Rugby 7s team claimed Team Scotland’s first ever team sport medal at either Youth Games or Commonwealth Games with gold, beating Fiji in the final in spectacular style. Jessica Heeps took a first medal for Triathlon as the sport made its debut, followed closely by Alex Robin in the men’s individual event, both winning silver, before combining to win a further silver in the Mixed Relay.

Chris Purdie, Chef de Mission was delighted with the team’s performance and said:

“Trinbago 2023 has been a special Games for everyone in Team Scotland. While finishing third on the medal table is a historic moment for Scotland, we are exceptionally proud that we were able to be represented in all seven sports that were part of the Games in Trinidad and Tobago. The chance to offer up-and-coming athletes the opportunity to compete internationally at a multi-sport event will be something that provides all individuals with significant learning on their performance journey.

“As Chef de Mission for the Team, I can’t thank the staff team enough for all of the work that they did both pre and during the Games. They created a fantastic environment for our young and talented athletes to not only perform to their best ability but to have a positive and memorable experience as well.

“I am tremendously proud of all of our athletes, staff, and wider delegation who have represented Scotland at Trinbago and it is evident that there are many brilliant individuals to watch out for in the future of Scottish sport.”

Day 3 of Trinbago 2023 brought lots of excitement and success on both the Rugby pitch and the Beach Volleyball court, with athletes battling the intense heat to come away with wins. Athletics got underway for the first time and the cyclists were back in action in the road race.

Our Rugby 7s team were up against the mighty Fijians in the morning session of the competition and put in a fantastic shift against a formidable side but unfortunately fell short, loosing 32-5.

Up next in the afternoon session, the boys were up against another challenging side in the South Africans, who were unbeaten in the competition so far. With record temperatures, the game kicked off and both teams came out hard and the score was ties 12-12 at half time. Going into the final 90 seconds, the team trailed by 5 points and needed at least a try to tie the game and a conversion to win. With a turnover at the other end of the pitch, the boys remained calm and managed to break through the South African defence, with Fergus Watson scoring the winning try and Matthew Urwin clinching the win with the conversion.

Over on the Beach Volleyball courts, our Scottish women’s pair, Iona and Sasha, were in the playoff match up against Vanuatu, with a place in the the quarter finals up for grabs. After leading in the opening points, the girls lost the first set 17-21. With the heat being a challenge for all teams today, the girls had a tough road ahead but stormed to victory in the second set 21-12 and battled the elements to take the third and final set 15-13. A truly exceptional effort from both girls to take their first win of the tournament.

At the Hasley Crawford Stadium, venue for the Opening Ceremony, the Athletics competition got underway. Lidya Woldeselassie, youngest memeber of Team Scotland at just 14, made history by becoming the first athlete to represent Team Scotland in a para-sport event at a Commonwealth Youth Games. She performed superbly, reaching the final of the T35-38 100m where she finished seventh in a personal best of 19.14 seconds. Also in action was Millie McClelland-Brooks who qualified comfortably for tomorrow’s 1500m final, finishing 4th in her semi-final with the top six progressing automatically.

Millie Thomson, Evie White, Elliot Rowe and Joe Cosgrove were back in action in the Cycling road race following the time trial on Saturday. The the women’s race, Evie took 7th while Millie did not finish. In the men’s race Elliot took ninth and Joe 13th, behind gold medallist Oisin Ferrity of Northern Ireland.

It’s Day 4 of Trinbago 2023 and we have an action packed day with all 7 sports taking place across Trinidad and Tobago and a number of medal opportunities up for grabs. The action on Trinidad starts with swimming heats and then over to Velodrome for the first time at Trinbago 2023. Over on Tobago, we have the final day of the Rugby 7s, the start of the Netball Fast5 competition and the Triathlon mixed relay.

Here’s what’s coming up today:

8:30am (1:30pm UK): Mixed Relay Triathlon

9am (2pm UK): Men’s Rugby 7s v Trinidad and Tobago

10am (3pm UK): Beach Volleyball v Australia

10am (3pm UK): Women 100m Backstroke Heats

10:35am (3:35pm UK): Women 400m Freestyle Heats

10:50am (3:50pm UK): Men 400m Freestyle Heats

11am (4pm UK): Women 100m Butterfly Heats

11:24am (4:24pm UK): Men 100m Butterfly Heats

11:50am (4:50pm UK): Women 200m Backstroke Heats

12pm (5pm UK): Men 200m Backstroke Heats

12:10pm (5:10pm UK): Mixed 4x100m Freestyle Relay

12:15pm (5:15pm): Fast5 Netball v Australia

1pm (6pm UK): Junior Men Sprint Quals

1:12pm (6:12pm UK): Junior Women Sprint Quals

1:25pm (6:25pm UK): Junior Men Pursuit Quals

1:55pm (6:55pm UK): Junior Men Sprint 1/4 Final Ride 1

2:07pm (7:07pm UK): Junior Women Sprint 1/4 Final Ride 1

2:19pm (7:19pm UK): Junior Men Sprint 1/4 Final Ride 2

2:31pm (7:31pm UK): Junior Women Sprint 1/4 Final Ride 2

2:44pm (7:44pm UK): Junior Women Points Race Final

2pm or 3pm T.B.C (7pm or 8pm UK): Rugby 7s Medal Match

4:45pm (9:45pm UK): Women’s 1500m Heats

6pm (11pm UK): Swimming Finals

6:15pm (11:15pm UK): Fast5 Netball v Trinidad and Tobago

Eight rising stars of track and field are part of Team Scotland for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad & Tobago this summer. 

With just over a week to go until the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Youth Games, we caught up with two of our Athletics athletes, Corey Campbell and Amy Teasdale, who told us how it feels to be part of Team Scotland and what advice they would give to those looking to get involved in athletics.

Congratulations on becoming part of Team Scotland, how does it feel being chosen to represent your country at the Youth Games?

Corey: It feels great to be selected to represent Team Scotland at the Youth games and I look forward to competing out in Trinidad. 

Amy: It’s a bit surreal because selection has been a goal that’s lingered in the back of my head for the past year when I first heard about the games but it has been one of those things that you feel will just stay in your head to help push you through the hard times. So having it actually materialise is still a bit crazy but it’s so exciting to have the opportunity to travel out with a multi-sport team and the ability to involve yourself in the other sports just through chatting with the team and hopefully spectating those also competing on Trinidad!

How have you been preparing for the games and what are you most looking forward to once you are out in Trinidad and Tobago?

Corey: Training has been going well recently. I have also been preparing for the extreme temperatures that we will experience out in Trinidad. I’m most looking forward to learning more about international competition and testing myself against some of the commonwealth’s best youth athletes.

Amy: Training has been going well and everyone around me has been so supportive in facilitating me getting to the games in one piece! My coach Sarah, has really put time and effort into our preparation and her boundless positivity is honestly so impressive as I am a bit guilty of stressing and overthinking the smallest things so her help definitely hasn’t gone unnoticed! Even just the sense of community and backing from my training group and gym took me by surprise when the people you train alongside every week seem so proud- it helps you remember that these opportunities are what you are putting in the work for.

My event isn’t until the end of the competition so I’m going to have a lot of time beforehand and I’ve made it my mission to try and just immerse myself in everything there is to do and see at the games in the lead up! Watching the other sports and training in a completely different format on the island isn’t something that I’m going to ever get to experience again in a youth games so I do just think I’m going to have to go with the flow and not focus solely on my race until the latter stages as to enjoy everything in the meantime!

What’s been a highlight of your sporting journey so far?

Corey: Being selected to represent GB last year for the European u18 Championships. Throughout the championships I gained valuable experience which I hope to bring with me to the CYG and beyond! 

Amy: I’ve experienced being away with many teams within athletics and I think that’s made me appreciate the sport so much more because you learn about the work your competitors put in to be at the level we are at. This helps  bonds which you carry through to every competition and trip while allowing you to see your competitors as friends rather than people to be fearful of!The moment I achieved the qualifying standard that secured my place in this team was very special. To have all the hard work pay off, after various setbacks this year, at our national 3k champs was just brilliant!

What piece of advice would you give to those wanting to get involved in Athletics?  

Corey: Just throw yourself in by joining your local athletics club and remember that everyone starts somewhere. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills and have fun. 

Amy: For people wanting to get involved, there are so many ways into the sport through amateur clubs and groups where you will instantly find like-minded people to keep you motivated. The athletic community in Scotland feels very close so there are always people you know competing and progressing to keep you engaged and involved even if you are not the one competing!

Fast5 Netball makes its Commonwealth Youth Games debut at Trinbago 2023 and the 10 athletes selected will be sure to step up to the challenge and aim to make their mark on the international stage.

We caught up with Becca McKelvie and Niamh Trainer who are 2 members of the Scotland FAST5 Netball squad, who will travel out to Trinidad and Tobago in just under two weeks to compete for Team Scotland.

Hear from Becca and Niamh as they talk about their excitement for the games and what makes FAST5 Netball so special.

FAST5 Netball is making its debut at the Commonwealth Youth Games this summer, how does it feel to be selected and to be representing Scotland on the world stage?

Becca: It is an absolute honour to represent Scotland at a major competition like the Youth Commonwealth games. These opportunities don’t come round often, and I was ecstatic to be selected. This is a huge step in the right direction for netball in Scotland and I have no doubt it’ll have a positive impact and help give netball the recognition it deserves! As a team we are all so excited to get out there and really push ourselves to be best we can be and make everyone that supported us through this journey proud. 

Niamh: I feel incredibly privileged and fortunate to represent Scotland at a global sporting event, in a new, fast paced form of netball. I can’t wait to represent my Country and believe our squad of 10 can do Scotland proud.

How did you first get involved in Netball and what would you say to those wanting to get involved in the sport?

Becca: I first got involved in netball through at local charity club at 12. We trained for an hour a week and with the support from my coaches and opportunities given, I was able to continuously improve which has led me to where I am today. 

For anyone wanting to get involved in netball I would say ‘why not’. You’ll never know how much you enjoy something if you’ve never tried it. You can gain so many positive things from playing sport: new skills, friendships, confidence. It really has made me a better person. 

Niamh: I remember my first game for my schools Under 11s B team. I had not come across netball before and did not know what to expect. I absolutely loved it and was fortunate to receive fantastic support and encouragement particularly from my local netball club. My advice to anyone who has ever thought about playing netball is “Go for it!”. I have played with people of all ages through my time and have always found the environment supportive and encouraging.

What is the best thing about FAST5 Netball?

Becca: The best thing about FAST5 netball is how exhilarating it is. The game can change in an instant and you never really know what’s going to happen. To play this style competitively is really exciting and forces you to take the risk in intense moments. Every second counts in a fast5 game, watching would definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. 

Niamh: Fast 5s is exhilarating to watch and even better to play. Its fast, dynamic and relentless and the scoring system means either team can win right up to the last moment!

What are you most looking forward to once you are out in Trinidad and Tobago?

Becca: I am most excited to get to meet and play against so many other talented athletes from all around the world. It really shows the power of sport and how it can bring so many young people together. I am also looking forward to pushing ourselves to be able to compete with some of the best athletes at our age and really show everyone what we are capable of.

Niamh: I am looking forward to meeting and making friends with people from all over the Commonwealth and for us to test ourselves against some of the best athletes at our age globally.

Alec Coombes
  1. The Scottish Border town of Melrose is known as the ‘Birthplace of Sevens’ where the first game of Rugby 7s was played back in 1883.

2. Rugby 7s is a fast paced, high tempo game, played with 7s players a side, for two seven-minute halves, with a 2-minute break in between.

Patrick Kelly

Femi Sofolarin

3. In a Rugby 7s game, it is 5 points for a try, and 2 points for the subsequent conversion kick. Players can kick a penalty for 3 points or kick a drop goal for 3 points.

4. The Men’s Rugby 7s competition will take place at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex on the island of Tobago and will be contested by Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, Jamaica, Scotland, Fiji, and South Africa.  

5. All 13 players selected for the Youth Games have been part of the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy or involved with SQ Performance Pathway.  

Up next in our Trinbago 2023 Sport Focus series, we are very excited to be hearing from two of our Rugby athletes who have been selected to represent Team Scotland in the Men’s Rugby 7s competition at Trinbago 2023.

We caught up with captain Johnny Ventisei and Fergus Wood following their selection and asked them how they were feeling ahead of the games and what they love so much about Rugby 7s.

Not long to go until the start of the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games, how are you feeling ahead of the games and how does it feel representing Scotland?

Fergus: Representing Scotland is always an honour and definitely the main aspiration for everyone involved that wants to develop themselves as a player. The squad is definitely building confidence, with every training session being a chance to excel as a team.

Johnny: I’m really excited to get started at the games. It’s obviously an incredible opportunity for everyone involved and one we are all really looking forward to. It’s wonderful to be involved in a game like rugby sevens which originates from Scotland. It’s always an honour representing your country at any level and one that brings a lot of pride, especially at a unique multi sport event such as the commonwealth games.

Rugby 7s is quite a bit different from the 15 a side we often see, what do you enjoy most about Rugby 7s and what makes it so exciting to watch?  

Fergus: I think what makes sevens so exciting to watch is the fact that the game can turn at any moment, with everyone having to work hard on the pitch. I personally enjoy the freedom to play that sevens allows for. 

Johnny: Rugby 7s is a very entertaining game, it’s very fast paced and played at an extremely high skill level which creates exciting, flowing, running rugby. It’s played on a full size rugby pitch meaning the amount of work and effort put in by each player is enormous, but this adds to the beauty of the game.

What has been a highlight of your Rugby career so far?

Fergus: The highlight of my career so far has definitely got to be representing Scotland at the Under-18 Six Nations festival in April. 

Johnny: The highlight of my rugby career so far would be representing Scotland at the U18 six nations. Being able to sing the National anthem with friends at your side and family and friends watching is a very special feeling.

How have you and the team been preparing over the past couple of months ahead of the games?

Fergus: The team has been preparing really well, initially we laid the foundations of sevens and made it clear the style of rugby we want to play, but as we’ve built up the number of sessions, we’ve been able to raise the intensity and focus amongst the group which has been brilliant to be a part of.

Johnny: It’s been an intense period of training building up towards the games. Places for the squad were highly contested and as a squad we have worked really hard throughout the selection process and training. We have already seen great progress and togetherness. It’s all coming together really well for the final week of training to put us in the best place possible for the games.

Up next in our Trinbago 2023 Sport Focus series, we are very excited to be hearing from our two Triathletes who have been selected to represent Team Scotland in the men’s, women’s, and mixed events at Trinbago 2023.

Triathlon makes its Commonwealth Youth Games debut at Trinbago 2023, and Alex and Jessica will be sure to step up to the challenge and aim to make their mark on the international stage.

Ahead of them heading out to Trinidad and Tobago we asked Alex and Jessica to tell us more about their sport and being selected for the Games:

Congratulations on becoming part of Team Scotland, how does it feel to be representing Scotland at your first Commonwealth Youth Games?

Alex: Obviously it’s a huge privilege to represent Scotland. It’s something I’ve worked extremely hard for, and I can’t wait to race and experience a big Games.

Jessica: I’m so excited to have been given the chance to represent Team Scotland in triathlon. For the opportunity to arise at such a big event makes me both nervous and excited and I just hope I can perform to the best of my ability and make the most of this chance.

How did you first get involved in Triathlon?

Alex: I started triathlon when I was 7 with Fusion Triathlon Club, the youngest age you were allowed to join. I remember seeing them training a few times and wanting to join in so badly, so naturally I was extremely excited when I was finally allowed to join. Meeting the minimum standard of being able to swim 2 lengths before being allowed to join provided me with that extra motivation in swimming lessons. From then I have progressed gradually through the performance pathway in place.

Jessica: I was a competitive swimmer from before I was 10. My mum started entering me for aquathons (swim then run) which I enjoyed participating in. Last year I took part in the Scottish National Youth Triathlon Championships and finished 4th. This year I decided to prioritise triathlon over swimming which I have enjoyed doing lots more than swimming on its own! 

What’s been a highlight from your sporting journey so far?

Alex: My highlight so far has to be Super League Jersey in 2021. I raced the youth race, while in my first year of the 2-year age group and managed to win which was amazing. It was so cool to race on the same course as the pros did a few hours before and trying the new enduro format (three back-to-back mini triathlons) was also really fun and a great experience.

Jessica: Obviously getting selected for the Games is my number one highlight. Apart from that I’ve been taking part in the British Triathlon Super Series events and enjoyed the racing and moving up the rankings from the initial performance assessments and I have also enjoyed meeting new people.

How have you been training and preparing for the Games over the past weeks and months?

Alex: My training has been very disrupted having had a stress response in my ankle (which is ok now), and then a broken elbow which required surgery. I have been able to get in some heat training on the turbo while it was broken but I am only just getting back to swimming and running. However, I am confident I will be relatively fit in time for the race as I was in a similar situation last year and still managed to win the final British Triathlon Super Series race.

Jessica: This year I made a decision to prioritise triathlon over swimming and Tom my swimming coach, although probably disappointed, has been so supportive of that. I’m a member of a running club and have been to a few endurance cycles with a cycling club to familiarise myself with a bike, however because of my swimming times I don’t have much time to attend the training sessions of other clubs so my bike and run training is mainly self-directed. I’ll run before I go swimming and after I will cycle home with my mum driving behind me. Occasionally I give a swimming session up to attend the running club.

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