Gold Coast 2018 medallist James Heatly has been named as the first diver selected to compete for Team Scotland at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, on the back of an impressive performance at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
He is selected in the 3m Springboard event after a superb series of dives in Tokyo took him to the final, where he eventually finished ninth. He joins the six track and field athletes named in October, as Team Scotland begins to take shape ahead of next summer’s showcase event.
James will be looking to add to his family’s diving legacy at his third Games in Birmingham, his Olympic debut in Japan coming 73 years after his grandfather Sir Peter Heatly competed at his first Olympics. Sir Peter won five Commonwealth Games medals including three gold in consecutive Games in the 1950s and James’s bronze in the 1m Springboard event at Gold Coast 2018 was Scotland’s first diving medal since his grandfather won gold in the 10m Platform in 1958.
Twice a European Championships medallist, James hasn’t slowed down since his Olympic experience in Tokyo, showing fine form at the 2021 Scottish National Diving Championships in Edinburgh earlier this month. He took victory in the 1m Springboard with a personal best score of 407.45, before pairing with Ross Beattie to record a 385.89 for gold in the 3m Synchro final. Both scores meet the consideration scores for next year’s Commonwealth Games, with selection in both events to be made at a later date.
Delighted to have his selection confirmed, James said: “To be preselected is just amazing and I can’t actually believe that this will be my third Games. It’s nice to have that box ticked, it’s like a weight has lifted off my shoulders and I can relax and just let the other performances happen.
“I was lucky enough to do Glasgow 2014 where the diving was in Edinburgh, so that was a home, home Games. My mum is from Birmingham, so I’m half Brummie. It will be nice to get my mum’s side of the family involved and able to come and watch, so I’m really excited that it’s in Birmingham.
In the lead into Tokyo, it was all about getting to the various championships – Commonwealths, Europeans, Worlds and Olympics. Now that I’ve competed at them all, it’s time to look at upgrading some of those medals and results.”
Elinor Middlemiss, Team Scotland Chef de Mission, said: “We are very pleased to have James confirmed on the team for Birmingham 2022.
“He has been an important member of the group at the last two Commonwealth Games, and has shown his quality on both the domestic and international stage this year.