Kilwinning’s Michelle Cooper is in good form ahead of this weekend’s 4 Nations Test event at Kelvingrove (Fri 31 May – Sun 2 June, practice Thurs 30 May) which marks the official opening of Team Scotland’s selection period for the Glasgow 2014 Games.
The 26 year old was Lead in the World Championships winning Scottish Fours in Adelaide last December. Since then she has kept the results flowing right through the winter, consistently reaching finals in domestic events and the quarter finals of the World Cup in Warilla, Australia.
She admits that this is the most important year of her life so far with the opportunity to play for Team Scotland now imminent.
“This is a very important season for me because everything is geared towards Glasgow 2014”, says Cooper who was part of Team Scotland at the Delhi Games in 2010.
“So it is competitions all the time and I need to keep getting good results to keep myself at a high level so I get the qualification to get into the team for Glasgow.”
“For Delhi a lot of my family couldn’t travel, but playing in Glasgow in front of a crowd should be enough to spur you on, knowing that your friends and family are able to go too.”
Bowls is a core Commonwealth Games sport and since 1930 Scottish bowlers have won 13 gold, 7 silver and 8 bronze medals.
The Delhi Games were not the best for Scotland who uncharacteristically came home without any medals. But in the subsequent period Bowls Scotland took a hard look at itself and introduced one to one coaching for its elite players and integrated sportscotland institute of sport support.
Things have since turned full circle with the new approach helping the team deliver six medals, three of them gold, in last year’s World Championships.
Bowls Scotland Head Coach David Gourlay has assembled the nucleus of his World Championships team for this week’s 4 Nations, but recognising that the conditions in Glasgow will be completely different from Australia he will select the team to match.
With Gourlay’s elite squad all vying for Team Scotland places there is a level of expectation on Cooper. But she is unfazed, even admitting to quite liking the pressure.
“I’m already in the elite squad but it’s important to keep up my standard of play because there are a lot of folk in the squad that are wanting my place”, added Cooper.”
“Scotland has a lot of very good bowlers, and in the elite squad now everybody is capable of beating each other. But I quite like being under a wee bit of pressure.”
“Glasgow is the one everybody is aiming for and competing in your own country is going to be magic.”
For more information on Lawn Bowls go to: www.bowlsscotland.com
Photo Credit: Rob Eyton-Jones