With the finals of the Scottish National Championships at Northfield completed last weekend, thoughts are now turning to the Commonwealth Games in October. Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS), the Scottish Bowling Association and the Scottish Women’s Bowling Association today announced the 12 players selected to represent Team Scotland in the singles, pairs and triples events at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Lawn bowls is one of 10 core sports at the Commonwealth Games for men and women and has been included in every Games programme with the exception of Kingston, Jamaica in 1966. Since 1970 Scotland has won at least one medal at every Games (totalling 9 gold, 4 silver and 4 bronze) and they will be hoping to continue their winning streak.
This year’s competition will unusually be held outdoors on a synthetic surface, more akin to the indoor version of the game, although these green are playing much slower, which will present some challenges for all the bowlers. Most of the players selected today participated in the official test event at the Games venue in Delhi in April. They were supported by high performance experts from the sportscotland institute of sport, taking part in a range of physiological testing, which aims to ensure they will be in the best possible shape for the hot conditions they will experience at the Games.
Keen to win back to back gold will be Paul Foster from Troon, who took gold in the pairs in 2006 with Alex Marshall. This year he will go it alone in the singles and wwould love to savor further Commonwealth Games success. The 37-year-old was confirmed as world number one in April at the end of a vintage indoor season which saw him win a host of tournaments on the World Bowls Tour – including the Scottish International Open. Foster is now setting his sights on outdoor domination, but knows he must learn to adapt and combine his indoor and outdoor techniques if he is going to conquer the artificial surface which challenged him at the Eight Nations test event, where he won bronze.
The legendary Willie Wood from Haddington, will be making a record eighth Commonwealth Games appearance when he steps out onto the rink in Delhi at the remarkable age of 72, which will also make him the oldest competitor in Team Scotland 2010. No other athlete in any sport has matched this significant milestone. He first represented Scotland at the Games in 1974 and has only missed 1986 when the Games were in Edinburgh and the last Games in Melbourne in 2006. So far, over seven Commonwealth Games he has won four medals, two gold, one silver and one bronze and there is no doubt about his appetite for further success. Wood joins fellow 2008 triples world champions David Peacock and Wayne Hogg. Wood also won the World Championship triples with Peacock in 2004.
Margaret Letham will team up with Caroline Brown in the pairs for what will be her fourth Commonwealth Games campaign. She last savoured success in 1998 when she won pairs gold with Joyce Lindores. In Delhi in April, this new Games pairing won bronze.
24 year old Michelle Cooper from Kilwinning is the youngest member of the squad and will join forces with Lorraine Malloy and Lynn Stein in the triples. Michelle was a member of the 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games team which won a team silver medal when lawn bowls appeared on the Youth Games programme for the first time and only time so far.
Congratulating the team, Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland said: “Lawn bowls has a strong tradition of success at the Commonwealth Games and I am confident that these 12 players will do Team Scotland proud once again, in Delhi. They have truly earned their places on the team and I hope that they now can focus over these next two months on their final preparations that will put them in the best possible shape for the Games.”
Jon Doig, Team Scotland Chef de Mission added: “All 12 players can feel rightly proud of their achievement in being selected for Team Scotland. This is the first step to achieving their goals in Delhi and all the support staff look forward to working with them and ensuring they have every opportunity to excel at the Games.”
On behalf of the Scottish Bowling Association, Team Leader for Men’s Bowls George Sneddon said, “Our selected bowlers have a wealth of experience of competing at the highest level of the game and with a number of multiple medallists within the team we are confident they will play their part in another successful Games for Scotland.”
Betty Forsyth, Woman’s Team Leader added: “I would like to congratulate the team on their selection. I believe they have the capability to blend together well and will support each other in their quest to win medals in all disciplines for Team Scotland.”
The lawn bowls competition will be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru (JN) Sports Complex from 4-13 October 2010.
Athlete Events Age Lives
Claire Johnston, singles, 31, Auchinleck, East Ayrshire KA18
Caroline Brown, pairs, 30, Motherwell, North Lanarkshire ML1
Margaret Letham, pairs, 54, Bothwell, South Lanarkshire G71
Michelle Cooper, triples, 24, Kilwinning, Ayrshire KA13
Lorraine Malloy, triples, 34, East Whitburn, West Lothian EH47
Lynn Stein, triples, 42, Leven, Fife KY8
Paul Foster, singles, 37, Troon, Ayrshire KA10
Darren Burnett, pairs, 34, Arbroath, Angus DD11
Neil Speirs, pairs, 31, Ratho, West Lothian EH28
David Peacock, triples, 40, Dalkeith, Midlothian EH22
Wayne Hogg, triples, 30, Glenrothes KY7
Willie Wood, triples, 72, Haddington, East Lothian EH41
Betty Forsyth, Women’s Bowls Team Leader, 65, Larkhall, South Lanarkshire ML9
George Sneddon, Men’s Bowls Team Leader, 60, Broxburn, West Lothian EH52
Ceri Ann Davies, Head Coach, 31, Stirling, FK9
Robbie Dobbins, Coach, 69, Australia