Team Scotland got off to a flying start on the opening day of the Bahamas 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games as the country’s top young Judo and Beach Volleyball athletes got the Games underway in emphatic style.
Before the evening’s Opening Ceremony had even begun, Team Scotland had claimed four medals from six athletes in Judo as the sport was contested at a Youth Games for the very first time. Emily Ritchie got the team off the mark, going undefeated through three contests to claim gold, Scotland’s first of the Games and a first for Judo at a Youth Games.
Speaking after her final fight, Emily commented: “That was amazing. The fact that it is the first Youth Games with my sport in it and that I am one of the first gold medallists in the event is an amazing feeling. It felt amazing stepping out on to the mat, representing the whole of Team Scotland. Now I cannot wait for tonight’s Opening Ceremony and also being able to watch all of my other team-mates competing.”
The medals kept on coming in the second session with Fiona Todman and Emma Forrest both earning their place in the final and picking up silver. Though disappointed not to come out on top in an intense final bout, Fiona said: “Obviously I am a bit gutted to have lost the final but it has been an amazing experience. The Bahamas have put on a brilliant event and the atmosphere out there was incredible. Not many people can say they are a Commonwealth Youth Games Medallist and that is a really special feeling.”
Louis Saez started his competition with a close defeat but showed real grit and determination to bounce back in his next bout. A record of two wins and two losses in his pool was enough to ensure he took home bronze for Scotland. Speaking after the medal ceremony, he said: “I didn’t get off to a great start and was a bit shaky in my first fight but my whole team inspired me to turn it around in the next few fights. With them getting behind me, it gave me a bit of inspiration and I am so happy to be coming away with a medal.”
Connor Wilson and Ryan Quigley both faced tough opposition in their draw which included fights against England and Northern Ireland. A difficult day on the mat saw them both narrowly miss out on medals. Both battled hard throughout the day and made sure they did themselves and Team Scotland proud.
The exciting action continued to flow for Team Scotland with Emma Waldie and Jennifer Lee taking to the court in Beach Volleyball, going head-to-head with Vanuatu. A cagey affair to begin with, Emma and Jennifer quickly got rid of any pre-match nerves to take the first set comfortably, 21-7.
With the mid-afternoon heat starting to have an impact on the Scots’ pair, they looked to finish the job with a straight sets win. In a tight second set, the duo found the extra bit of energy required to take them over the line. A second set score of 21-19 secured a win for in Scotland’s first ever match at a Commonwealth Games event.
The team will be full of confidence as they head into tomorrow’s game with Jamaica. Speaking after the win over Vanuatu, Jennifer Lee said: “We started strong and the first set went as we had hoped. It was great to get the first win under our belt and now it is all about recovering ahead of a tough game against Jamaica tomorrow.”
Team Scotland are now preparing for this evening’s Opening Ceremony before the action heats up once again tomorrow with Boxing, Cycling, Swimming and Tennis all getting underway.