Weightlifting has a proud history at the Commonwealth Games, on the programme since 1950 it was made a core sport in 2006, meaning that it must now be included at every Games. From its first inclusion when Scotland sent just one weightlifter to Auckland 1950, the first gold medal eight years later and Scotland’s most recent medallist Peter Kirkbride at Delhi 2010 here are just some of the Scottish highlights in 70 years of Commonwealth Games Weightlifting.
Scotland sent only two weightlifter to the Perth 1962 Commonwealth Games but both returned with a medal. Phil Caira had won Scotland’s first Weightlifting medal and first gold at Cardiff 1958 and had subsequently retired due to a knee injury. Four years later he was back out of retirement to defend his title and he did so in style, winning by 4.5kg and becoming the first weightlifter ever to defend a Commonwealth Games title. Following his double triumph, he was Team Scotland’s flag bearer at the 1966 Games in Kingston, Jamaica. He won Scottish and British senior titles while still a pupil at Kirkcaldy High School, earning him the nickname ‘Scotland’s Wonder Boy’. His 5th place at the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games remains the best ever weightlifting result by a Scottish athlete to date.
There was also Lightweight bronze for Jimmy Moir who lifted the same weight as silver medallist Alan Oshyer of Australia with the Australian awarded silver due to his lighter body weight. Moir finished 7th at both Cardiff 1958 and Kingston 1966. He emigrated from Scotland to Canada and competed for the Canadian National team, winning silver at the World Powerlifting Championships in 1977.
Edmonton 1978 saw Charles Revolta win Flyweight silver at his third Commonwealth Games. Revolta’s impressive career saw him finish in the top six at each of his five Commonwealth Games, including a second silver in 1986. He also won 15 Scottish and eight British titles. His 1978 triumph was a third successive medal for Scotland at this weight category following bronze for John McNiven in both 1970 and 1974. Unfortunately McNiven himself couldn’t add to his medal tally, finishing with no total. In the Super Heavyweight category there was bronze for John Hynd who had finished fifth at Heavyweight at Edinburgh 1970. With one silver and one bronze this was Scotland’s best medal performance since 1962.
It was not just the medallists that impressed in Edmonton however. There were fourth place finishes for both John Craig at Featherweight and Robert Kennedy at Lightweight while John Rush was sixth in the Middleweight event.
Scotland’s most recent weightlifting medal came as Peter Kirkbride took silver at Delhi 2010. He had shown his talent from a young age, winning gold for Team Scotland at the 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo, Australia and now stepped up to senior level in style. Fourteen men contested the 94kg category and Kilmarnock’s Kirkbride who jumped for joy when he was awarded the silver medal, breaking two records on the way.
Lying second going into the Clean & Jerk discipline, he went for 189kg in his final attempt and made it look easy as he took the lead. But when gold looked all but his, Faavae Faauliuli of Samoa, in the last lift of the competition, successfully lifted 192kg to grab the gold by a single kilogram. Elsewhere there was a sixth place for 2002 and 2006 bronze medallist Tommy Yule in the 105kg event, finishing 5kg out of the medals, while Graeme Kane was 9th in the 77kg category. Kirkbride went on to finish 9th at the London 2012 Olympic Games.