Just days after Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) formally announced hockey’s inclusion in next year’s 2010 Games in Delhi Ross Stott extended Scottish Hockey’s celebrations after the player was named as the Clydesdale Bank Athlete of the Month for December. Ross was delighted to receive the award in recognition of his impressive performance at the recent World Cup qualifier and as the recipient of the trophy he also receives a very welcome £500 towards his training and competition costs.
The award 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 are nominated by their respective sports and must demonstrate outstanding performances during the build-up to the Games.
Ross said on receipt of his award, “This has been a complete but very welcome surprise to me. I had no idea I had been nominated and it is great to win the award and gain recognition for hockey from among so many worthy Commonwealth sports men and women.”
The cheque for £500 is also a welcome boost for the 21 year old hockey player who regularly travels from his home town of Dundee to Bellahouston Park in Glasgow where he trains with Kelburne Hockey Club. The Scotland squad member who hopes to be among the selected athletes bound for Delhi next year added, “The additional funding will be very useful at a time when I am actively looking for work that can fit into my busy training and competition schedule, as my preparations and performances will be very important in the year ahead.”
Ross’ performance at the World Cup qualifying event hosted in Invercargill, New Zealand was integral to the team’s third place finish and he was justly named the man of the tournament by the Scotland team coaching staff.
“I scored the winning goal in the penalty shoot out in that match and I wasn’t keeping count before I lined up for the last penalty so I didn’t know I was playing a crucial shot, but scoring that goal topped off a memorable tournament for us and a great team effort.
“We were ranked 5th out of the 6 competing nations at the start and our determination and confidence just grew after the first few matches. By the end we were slightly disappointed not to have made it to the final even though we had exceeded expectations.”
With Scotland’s men ranked 9th in the Commonwealth ahead of the qualifier, their performance during the tournament helped to demonstrate their potential to meet the top eight standard required by CGS for inclusion in the Delhi 2010 programme.
Beating China ranked 13th in the world for the bronze medal, Stott paid tribute to the current national coach Russell Garcia, who he believes has hugely influenced the development of the current crop of players. “Garcia has achieved so much in the sport the players really look up to him and I think we have the best training squad we have had for a long time. We are on our way up so it is great we will be in the 2010 Games.”
Whilst recognising this year has been a huge learning curve after his first taste of major competition at seniors level at the Europeans earlier this year, Stott hopes his growing confidence and recent experiences will help him get more starts for Scotland.
“My primary aim is to get selected for Delhi but beyond that I would love to get a GB call up for London 2012.”
Hoping to follow in the talented footsteps of brother Niall, who competed in the Athens Olympics in 2004 and was a team reserve in Beijing, Ross says he owes his involvement in the game to his older sibling.
“I was just three when I was introduced to hockey. Niall was babysitting me and took me along to a training session and I started playing with a stick twice my size and have been involved ever since. He has been such a huge influence in my life and my role model and if it were not for him I would not be here doing what I love to do.”
Clydesdale Bank’s support helps to ensure that athletes training and competing at this level will benefit from extra financial support to help them to achieve their goals. The award scheme is a great additional incentive to the athletes as they strive to deliver top performances over the next ten months to book their place on the team.