In exactly one year’s time (3 October 2010) Team Scotland will march into the stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi, with Inverurie swimmer Hannah Miley and Moray hammer thrower Mark Dry determined to be part of the action.
Both athletes were announced today as the first winners of the Clydesdale Bank Athlete of the Month Awards which will see them receive £500 each towards their training and competition costs in recognition of their outstanding achievements over the summer months.
The scheme is being run with Clydesdale Bank as part of their programme of support to Team Scotland and is open to athletes in any of the 17 participating sports who are eligible to represent Scotland at next year’s Games in Delhi. Athletes will be nominated by their respective sports and will have demonstrated outstanding performances during the build-up to the Games.
Hannah Miley made her Commonwealth Games debut in Melbourne in 2006 at just 16 years old, where she was inspired by the medal winning Scottish swimmers around her and finished an incredible 4th in her favoured 400m individual medley (IM) event.
Hannah has gone from strength to strength since then and is a regular on the British swimming scene, competing in multiple events. She had an excellent season in 2009 culminating in 6th in the 200m IM and 4th in the 400m IM at the World Championships in Rome, missing out on a medal by less than 0.5 seconds. She broke numerous Scottish, British and Commonwealth records along the way this year, with the highlight being breaking the European record for both the 200m and 400m IM which had been held for over eight years by Olympic double gold medallist Yana Klochkova of Ukraine. At 4:31.33 Hannah’s best 400m IM time is now 16.62 seconds faster than her final swim in Melbourne.
With Commonwealth Games qualification times already posted in no less than seven events, Hannah has her sights firmly set on coming of age in Delhi less than two months after what will be her 21st birthday.
“I am really pleased and honoured to be picked and it is nice that the hard work is recognised” said Hannah. “It would be great fun to be part of the team in Delhi. Melbourne was when I decided to make swimming my career and it will be great to compete again for Scotland.”
Mark Dry also had a fabulous season, exceeding the 66m Commonwealth Games qualification mark on 15 separate occasions. In August, Scottish Champion Mark became the first Scot in over 25 years to break the 70m barrier in the hammer, throwing 70.81m to put him second on the Scottish All-Time list behind his coach Chris Black. 21 year- old Mark is now top of the UK rankings for 2009 and is third in the Commonwealth.
“It’s come as a surprise to me; I’m chuffed to bits” said Mark. “It’s been a good season so far, I’ve had sixteen or seventeen throws over 66 metres. I’ve got a year to go to Delhi and there is still plenty of work to do.”
Whilst Mark needs to continue to demonstrate form and fitness through next season he is well placed to be selected for Delhi 2010.
Congratulating Hannah and Mark, Jon Doig Commonwealth Games Scotland CEO and Chef de Mission of Team Scotland for 2010 said: “With just a year to go until Team Scotland is in action in Delhi it is great to see so many of our athletes rising to challenge and meeting the selection standards set for the team. Congratulations to both Hannah and Mark on their numerous first class performances which make them worthy winners of the Clydesdale Bank Athlete of the Month Award for October.
“Many thanks also to Clydesdale Bank whose support for this scheme will ensure that athletes training and competing at this level will benefit from extra financial support to help them achieve their goals. This competition will be a great additional incentive to our athletes as they strive over the next ten months to book their place on the team.”