One year on from Team Scotland’s record medal tally for an overseas Games at Gold Coast 2018, we look back at a brilliant 11 days of Scottish success, full of standout moments and memories to last a lifetime.
Participating in all 18 sports on the programme, the team smashed their pre-Games medal target of 29, climbing onto the podium an incredible 44 times, winning 9 gold, 13 silver and 22 bronze. There were also many ground breaking performances throughout the 11 days of thrilling sporting action down under and here are just some of the highlights.
The scene was set from the Opening Ceremony, where multiple Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth medal winning athlete, Eilidh Doyle, nominated by her fellow athletes, led Scotland into the Carrara Stadium – the first female athlete ever to do so.
At 224 athletes, this was the biggest team Scotland had ever sent to an away Games and included a record 93 women. There were also 18 Para-Sport athletes, competing in six of the seven disciplines, as Gold Coast hosted the biggest ever Para-Sport programme with 38 medal events.
Marc Austin took the first Scottish medal of the Games and a first ever Triathlon medal for Scotland, putting in an inspirational performance to claim bronze in the Men’s Individual event, ahead of World and Olympic medallists Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee. Beth Potter became the first athlete to compete in two sports for Team Scotland at a single Games, competing in the Triathlon individual event and team relay, before going on to compete on the track in the 10,000m.
The first gold of the Games came from Para-Cycling duo Neil Fachie and Matt Rotherham, as they carved almost two seconds off the previous Games record in the 1000m Time Trial on the opening night in the velodrome. The pair went on to win a second gold in the Sprint, breaking the World Record in qualifying. It sparked a medal rush as eight cyclists claimed 10 medals between them, including four gold, with Mark Stewart in the Points Race and Katie Archibald in the Individual Pursuit the other athletes to top the podium.
There were also medals for Neah Evans, Jack Carlin and Callum Skinner, whilst it was a family affair for the Archibalds as Katie’s brother John took silver in the Men’s Individual Pursuit – the pair becoming the first brother and sister to win Commonwealth Games medals for Scotland on the same day.
Aquatics won the most medals with 11 – 2 gold, 4 silver and 5 bronze. Duncan Scott was the star of the pool as he racked up six medals, including a first ever gold for Scotland in the 100m Freestyle. Hannah Miley took a third successive medal in the 400m Individual Medley, silver this time to add to the golds in Delhi and Glasgow, while fellow defending champion from 2014, Ross Murdoch also had to settle for silver in the 200m Breaststroke. There was a silver for Mark Szaranek in the men’s 400m Individual Medley as well as relay medals in the men’s 4x100m and 4x200m Freestyle.
The divers continued where the swimmers left off, with James Heatly winning 1m Springboard bronze, Scotland’s first Diving medal for 60 years, the last being won by his grandfather, Sir Peter Heatly at the 1958 Cardiff Games. This was swiftly followed by Grace Reid taking gold in the same event to become the first female Scottish diver to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games.
It was an incredible performance from Scotland’s bowlers on the hard baked greens at Broadbeach, with all 10 returning home with medals. There were first ever medals for both men and women’s Triples, as they steadily accumulated two gold, two silver and a bronze, to become the most successful nation of all-time in Commonwealth Games Lawn Bowls.
Ronnie Duncan and Derek Oliver, both making their Games debut, were double gold medallists in the Triples and Fours. Competing at his sixth Commonwealth Games, Alex Marshall won gold in the Fours and silver in the Pairs to take his career tally to five gold and one silver and become Scotland’s most successful Commonwealth Games athlete of all time, with teammate Paul Foster only just behind him with four gold and a silver, moving up to third on the all-time list.
Also making his sixth Games appearance, shooter Ian Shaw took bronze in the Queen’s Prize Pairs alongside Games debutant, Sandy Walker, while David McMath, competing at his first Games, took Scotland’s first ever individual gold in the Men’s Double Trap, setting a Games record in the final. Seonaid McIntosh added to her family’s Commonwealth Games legacy, with two bronze medals in the rifle events. A fourth Commonwealth Games medal and first in an individual event for Neil Stirton with silver in the 50m Rifle Prone and a first Games medal for Linda Pearson, with bronze in the Women’s Double Trap, rounded out a successful Games on the range up in Brisbane.
Basketball made a return to the Games after a 12 year absence and the nation was gripped by the heroics of the team. The only team without a FIBA ranking, they defied pre-Games expectations to remain undefeated until the semi-finals, eventually finishing fourth, the best ever result at a Games by a Scottish team sport.
Having won their first ever Team Event medal at Glasgow 2014, Scotland’s gymnasts followed up with their second – the men winning bronze, despite the loss of Kelvin Cham through injury. Veterans of the 2014 team, Daniel Purvis and Frank Baines then went on to win individual bronze on Floor and Parallel Bars respectively.
There was a ‘first’ too for Beach Volleyball, as the sport made its Commonwealth Games debut against the stunning ocean backdrop down at Coolangatta. Both Scotland’s men’s and women’s pairs acquitted themselves strongly against world ranked opposition, reaching the quarter-finals.
Boxing maintained their impressive record of at least one medal at every Games, with John Docherty and Reece McFadden both winning bronze. There was another first for Team Scotland, with two female boxers, Vicky Glover and Megan Gordon, taking to the ring.
Micky Yule just missed a medal coming fourth in Para-Powerlifting, while Lisa Tobias set new Scottish records in the Weightlifting 48kg category. Netball finished in ninth place, a narrow loss in a thrilling game with Malawi proving critical, while Table Tennis reached the last 16 of the team event. There were tough draws for both Wrestling and Rugby 7s, with the latter missing out to World Champions South Africa, with just one from each pool to go through to medal matches. In Squash the Men’s Doubles just fell short, reaching the bronze medal match for the third successive Games.
The final day of competition saw Kirsty Gilmour collect her second Badminton Singles medal in succession. She added bronze to her Glasgow 2014 silver, turning the tables on 2014 gold medallist, Michelle Li of Canada.
With five medals, Athletics celebrated their biggest medal tally since 1990. Hammer thrower Mark Dry led the way, replicating his bronze medal winning feat from Glasgow 2014 with his final throw. Flag bearer Eilidh Doyle took a third successive silver medal over the 400m Hurdles, while there was also silver for 18-year-old Maria Lyle in the Para-Sport T35 100m.
Jake Wightman was the final medallist on the track, bouncing back from the agony of a fourth place finish in the 1500m, with bronze in the 800m. However, there was final day drama and contrasting fortunes for Scotland’s two Marathon men. There was on outpouring of concern and well wishes for longtime leader Callum Hawkins, as he succumbed to the heat with just a mile to go, while team mate Robbie Simpson came through for bronze and Team Scotland’s final medal of the Games.
And so to the Closing Ceremony, where the most successful Scottish athlete at a single Games, swimmer Duncan Scott, was chosen to carry the flag for Scotland in recognition of his outstanding achievement.
One year on, whilst the memories of a fantastic Commonwealth Games for Scotland on the Gold Coast are still fresh, attention has quickly turned to Birmingham 2022, the next Games hosts. Team Scotland will once again anticipate a strong performance in 2022 across all the sports and in particular welcoming the return of Judo to the programme, a sport in which Scotland performed so well in 2014.
Reflecting on the advantages of a UK based Games in the normal summer competition period, Commonwealth Games Scotland CEO, Jon Doig OBE said: “With Team Scotland success at the Commonwealth Games being so important to Scotland, our planning will once again be rigorous, to ensure nothing is left to chance and that we can build on the success of Gold Coast.
“From what we have seen so far, Birmingham will be great hosts and with the city’s close proximity, we anticipate a great travelling support roaring the team on. We look forward to working closely with our partners and supporters in Scotland and in Birmingham to ensure we deliver a performance that makes the country proud once again.”