As thousands of people set goals and resolutions for the New Year, qualifying for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games willfeature high on the list for Scotlan
d’s athletes, with the official Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) selection period to qualify for Team Scotland fully opening on 1 January 2017.
Athletes from the 18 sports on the Games programme will have their sights set on producing the necessary performances to lay claim to a coveted place on Team Scotland, at the only multi-sport event where athletes get to compete for Scotland as a nation in its own right.
Scotland’s athletes will enter the selection period buoyed by outstanding performances in 2016, including World and European medals across a host of sports. The Rio Olympics and Paralympics saw a record Scottish medal haul, with cycling gold medallists Katie Archibald and Callum Skinner leading the way for those sports on the Gold Coast 2018 programme.
Marathon runner, Callum Hawkins, is in the unique position of having already posted a qualifying standard as, due to the exceptional nature of the marathon, the qualifying period was brought forward to include performances at Rio 2016. Callum’s time
of 2.11.52 for ninth place means he is the first athlete to record an official Team Scotland qualifying performance for Gold Coast 2018.
Squash pairing Alan Clyne and Greg Lobban took a fantastic win at the World Doubles Squash Championships in August, a recognised event in the selection policy, which leaves them needing just one qualifying performance within the selection period to secure their place. In addition, lawn bowls have qualified athlete places in all four men’s and four women’s events, following outstanding results at the recent World Championships in New Zealand. Individual bowlers will now compete intensively through 2017 for the right to take their place on Team Scotland.
CGS Chief Executive and Team Scotland Chef de Mission, Jon Doig OBE, said: “Competing for Scotland at a Commonwealth Games is a highlight of any athlete’s career and Gold Coast represents a fantastic opportunity, both for the athletes who experienced being part of the success of Glasgow 2014 and for a new wave of athletes inspired by the team’s incredible performance.
“Over the last four Games cycles, Team Scotland has performed increasingly well, largely as a result of a robust, clear, consistent selection policy and a strong team ethos, backed with excellent high performance support from sportscotland.
“The dual aims of this policy are to ensure that Scotland selects a team that performs with distinction in 2018 and in so doing, has its most successful overseas Games ever in terms of medals won.
“Whilst it is our aspiration that Team Scotland will have representation in all 18 sports on the programme, for the first time the Commonwealth Games Federation has introduced an athlete quota system and as a result our team selection must also comply with this condition.
“We have worked closely with each sport so that athletes head into 2017 knowing exactly what they have to achieve to be considered for selection for Team Scotland on the Gold Coast.”
Team Scotland’s best performance to date at an overseas Games came at Melbourne 2006 with 29 medals won across nine sports. As well as aiming to better that medal count in Gold Coast, Team Scotland also aims to have a higher percentage of athletes meeting the selection standards in competition at the Games, than in 2014.
As athletes raise their game to take their place on Team Scotland, an exciting year for Scottish sport lies ahead in 2017.