Gold Coast 2018 saw Beach Volleyball make its Commonwealth Games debut with Scottish pairs flying the flag in both men’s and women’s events. Two years ago today both Scottish teams were stepping out onto court on quarter-finals day and women’s pair Lynne Beattie and Mel Coutts take a trip down memory lane to their historic 5th place finish:
Lynne: My favourite memories from the Games include marching out as part of the army of Team Scotland athletes and staff into the Opening Ceremony arena, knowing you were part of something bigger than just your own team and sport. The support you would get from fellow Team Scotland members in and around the holding camp, in the village, and throughout your competition was unbelievable.
My favourite memory however was stepping out onto court in the quarter-finals, against the World Number 1’s at the time, Canada, (eventual gold medallists) and leaving absolutely everything on court, soaking up the atmosphere of 4000 fans in such an iconic arena. To get the opportunity to test yourselves against the best team in the world is one of the reasons you play sport.
Mel: Qualification was a long and rocky road, lots of ups and downs but totally worth it once we qualified. The build up to the Games in the Sunshine Coast was absolutely brilliant, especially being part of Team Scotland which was a wonderful novelty, and quite a change when you normally travel in a two, and suddenly to be part of a team of 300! Amazing.
Most memorable moment was walking out into the stadium for the first time. Fantastic experience. And we played in the hot sunshine and got our first win. Looking back, this experience has undoubtedly given us the hunger to push the boundaries of our team and our sport even further, but it has also been an experience that we have both learned so much from, that can only help us in achieving our goals going forward.
Lynne: Since the Gold Coast, we have been continuing to compete, both domestically on the Scottish and UK Beach Tour, as well as internationally on the World Tour, whilst pulling together a comprehensive campaign plan to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022. This has been a really exciting process to be a part of as we are able to use the learnings from Gold Coast to shape how this looks. There may be a few changes to how this looks now, as a result of the current situation across the world, but we are adaptable and creative and so have confidence that we will be able to find solutions as we continue our journey to Birmingham 2022.
Mel: Now we prepare for 2022. Training and competing is obviously stalled at present due to coronavirus, but ‘staying at home’ makes me all the more motivated to get to the beach when it is safe to do so.
As a team, we have also been investing some time in supporting the development of our sport alongside the local Beach Volleyball Club; Edinburgh Beach Volleyball Club. The club have been growing by the year and investment from sportscotland will allow us to grow our reach into local communities and get youngsters involved. The local community have been so supportive in achieving our goals and we want to give something back and ensure that more people can have the opportunity to play our amazing sport.
For our sport to appear on the world stage in two consecutive Commonwealth Games will be another historic achievement and hopefully continue the momentum we all started a few years ago to grow the sport in our country and pave the path for future generations of athletes and coaches to experience what we have had the honour to experience.
Qualifying for and competing at the Commonwealth Games was the culmination of a lot of hard work from, not just us as a team of athletes and coaches, but from our sport and governing body too. Achieving the goal that we set out to achieve, made this hard work worthwhile and we really hope it has inspired others to believe in their goals and ambitions, whatever they may be; this was and still plays a big part in our purpose as a team. We have always wanted to get Scottish Beach Volleyball on the world map and show people what is possible with commitment to your goals.