Final preparations are nearing completion for Team Scotland’s seven-strong table tennis team, who are busy working on the finishing touches at the Stirling holding camp this week.
The team has been described as a blend of youth and experience. Fitting the latter role best, having played in all three Games where Table Tennis featured, is Perth’s Gavin Rumgay.
A lot has changed since the sport made its debut at the 2002 Manchester Games, particularly in the attention to detail at the holding camp.
“We’re better prepared,” said Rumgay. “It’s the small things like coming here to Stirling where we’ve got the red (rubberised) Taraflex floor, which simulates as close as we can get to the Games venue at Scotstoun.
“Normally we practise on a wood floor which is quite slippery. You need the conditions to be as close to what you’ll get at the Games, so this week at Stirling is very good.”
Twenty nine year old Rumgay has played extensively and with success since he was the youngster of the Scottish team in the Manchester Games.
“I’m a little bit older, and hopefully a bit more experienced,” he said. “I remember my first Games in 2002 when I was quite young and feeding off the rest of the team. I think now I’m looking to lead the team, which is important.”
At the younger end of the table tennis team’s age range is 21 year old Sean Doherty, who grew up just a stone’s throw from the Games table tennis venue.
“I’m actually from Scotstoun, where the table tennis is being held, so it was a pretty special moment to get selected for the team,” he said.
“It couldn’t really be closer to my home so the excitement is huge. I think it will help that I come from the area, and without a doubt the home crowd is going to be a huge thing.
“There is no doubt that of everybody competing I will know the area best. And it could turn out to be a little bit of an advantage for me personally as well.”
Like the rest of the team at Stirling this week, Doherty believes the programme laid on at the holding camp has been second to none.
“The setup here has been brilliant,” he said. “This hall is a world class facility and we’ve got practice partners over from Hungary who are the same level as the guys we will be competing against at the Commonwealths.
“So it’s giving us a chance to compete against players similar to the high level competitors we will be against in Glasgow.”
Photo credit: Rob Eyton-Jones