Edinburgh sprinter Tom Holligan (17) has been named as the flagbearer for Youth Team Scotland, and will have the honour of carrying the saltire into the Opening Ceremony of the fourth Commonwealth Youth Games, which takes place at the Bowl Stadium this evening (from 19:15).
Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison, joined Commonwealth Games Scotland Chairman, Michael Cavanagh to make the announcement at the Youth Team Scotland hotel (the Claremont) on the Isle of Man.
It has been a successful year for Holligan, who won a gold and a silver medal at the 2011 European Youth Olympic Festival in Turkey. He won the 200m with a personal best time of 21.46 and helped the men’s 4x100m relay team to the silver medal. Tom has also shown excellent personal qualities that embody the ethos of Youth Team Scotland.
Tom was voted as flagbearer by his Scotland team-mates, after a shortlist of three was selected at the team camp in August. Fellow shortlisted nominees, swimmer Craig Benson (Livingston) and cyclist Grant Ferguson (Peebles) will walk behind Tom into the Opening Ceremony, followed by the rest of the team.
“I think everyone saw from my face when the announcement was made that I was shocked”, said Tom. “It’s an honour to be nominated within my sport, because there are some superb athletes, but to be recognised by the whole team is fantastic. I’m really proud and it’ll be brilliant to lead the team out in the Opening Ceremony.”
“When you look at what Grant and Craig have both achieved this year, to be put on the same list as them is phenomenal. I feel humbled to have been shortlisted but it’s an amazing feeling to have been chosen as the flagbearer. My mum will be delighted!”
Congratulating Tom, Shona Robison said: “To be named flagbearer for Youth Team Scotland is a terrific honour for Tom Holligan and a direct reflection of his fantastic form on the track so far this year. Tom’s recent success will be an inspiration to his team-mates and I wish the whole Scottish team the very best of luck as they embark on what we all hope will be a Commonwealth Youth Games to remember.”
Michael Cavanagh added: “Tom has already shown this year that he is a fantastic athlete, and we have been really impressed with his attitude and professionalism as a member of Youth Team Scotland. I am delighted that Tom has been recognised by his fellow athletes and I know he will lead by example for the duration of the Games.”
The announcement of the flagbearer is a longstanding tradition, and Tom will follow in the footsteps of Louise Carroll (hockey), Gemma Nicol (athletics) and Lisa Glover (athletics), who carried the flag at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games.
The Opening Ceremony will be streamed live online via the BBC Isle of Man website.