Wrestling has a proud history at the Commonwealth Games, regularly contributing to Team Scotland’s medal tally since Scottish wrestlers made their debut in 1934. One of the original six sports in the Games and on the programme at all but three Games since, here are just some of the highlights of Scotland’s participation across 90 years of Commonwealth Games Wrestling.
After fielding no wrestlers at the inaugural Games of 1930, Scotland made their Wrestling debut in fine style in 1934 winning four medals from seven athletes. Edward Melrose won Bantamweight gold, which remains Scotland’s only Wrestling gold to date, sharing the podium with Canadian Ted McKinley and six time British champion and 1932 Olympian Joseph Reid of England.
Heavyweight Archibald Dudgeon, nicknamed ‘the Loch Ness Monster’, took bronze as Australia’s Jack Knight took gold. Robert Harcus at Middleweight and Murdoch White in the Featherweight event also took bronze for what is still Scotland’s highest medal tally in the sport at a single Games. White’s bronze remained Scotland’s only medal in this weight category until Viorel Etko took bronze at Glasgow 2014.
Flag bearer Albert Patrick secured his place as Scotland’s most decorated Commonwealth Games wrestler with silver in the Super Heavyweight event, adding to his silver in 1978 and bronze in 1982. While disappointed that he couldn’t make it gold to complete the set in front of his family on home soil, the Canadian Wayne Brightwell, who had finished 8th at Olympic Games two years previously, proved too strong. The drama didn’t finish with the competition however, as Patrick also carried the flag at the Closing Ceremony where the Saltire detached from the pole midway through the ceremony and had to be reattached.
David Connelly at Light Flyweight and Graeme English at Light Heavyweight added two bronze to make it wrestling’s best medal haul for over half a century. English would go on to compete at the 1988 Olympic Games and, after a hiatus for Wrestling in 1990, returned to the Commonwealth Games in 1994 to claim a second bronze. David Connelly’s son Ross represented Team Scotland at the Gold Coast 2018 Games having won bronze at the Commonwealth Championships in 2017 aged just 18.
Scotland had gone 20 years without a wrestling medal but it wasn’t long before the sport contributed to Team Scotland’s record medal haul at Glasgow 2014. Viorel Etko ended Scotland’s wait to the delight of the home crowd, becoming the first Scot since 1994 to win a Wrestling medal at a Commonwealth Games, taking bronze in the 61kg competition. It was then the turn of Alex Gladkov (65kg), coached by his father, Volodymyr, to collect Team Scotland’s second Wrestling bronze in epic fashion, with the 28-year-old overcoming controversial calls, and a mid-match knee injury, to defeat his Sri Lankan opponent Chamara Perera.
In the women’s competition Sarah Jones (69kg), Shannon Hawke (53kg) and Fiona Robertson (48kg) were the top performers all finishing in fifth place. With two bronze medals Wrestling matched their 1994 performance, the last time they were on the podium.
These of course are just some of the highlights across 90 years of the Commonwealth Games. Scottish wrestlers took at least one medal at every Games to include the sport between 1958 and 1994 and will be looking to hit the podium again in two years time at Birmingham 2022.