Team Scotland returned home from the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad & Tobago on Saturday 12th August with a bumper haul of medals, and memories to last a lifetime, after a hugely successful Games for our young athletes.
Following an incredible final day of competition which saw an incredible eight medals won across Track Cycling and Athletics, Team Scotland ended the Games with their best ever placing on the medal table in 3rd with a final tally of 12 gold, 11 silver and 5 bronze.
The total of 28 medals was a fantastic achievement and 12 gold medals equals Scotland’s best ever Youth Games performance at the 2004 Games in Bendigo, where many fewer nations competed.
Five of the seven sports won medals (Athletics, Cycling, Rugby 7s, Swimming and Triathlon), with Netball coming agonisingly close with a narrow loss in the bronze medal match, while Beach Volleyball also acquitted themselves well against older and more experienced opposition, finishing 7th.
28 of the 49 athletes enjoyed medal success and, with four gold and three silver, Matthew Ward ended the Games as Scotland’s most successful Youth Games athlete in history, following an incredible few days in the pool. He eclipsed the record medal tally, set at the 2017 Youth Games, by fellow swimmer Scott McLay, who went on win a medal at the Gold Coast 2018 Games on the back of his three gold, one silver and one bronze in the Bahamas.
Swimmer Holly McGill and cyclist Sarah Johnson became just the second and third female athletes to win two gold medals for Scotland at a Youth Games, both returning home with two gold and a silver.
Sarah was part of a strong Cycling contingent, that contributed an incredible eleven medals to the overall tally. Elliot Rowe won Team Scotland’s first medal of Trinbago 2023 with Time Trial silver on the road, before Millie Thomson won Scotland’s first ever Youth Games track cycling medal with bronze on the Points Race, going on to win three medals: a silver and two bronze. Calum Moir was also a multi-medal winner in the velodrome with two gold, a silver and a bronze.
There were also a number of firsts as the Rugby 7s team claimed Team Scotland’s first ever team sport medal at either Youth Games or Commonwealth Games with gold, beating Fiji in the final in spectacular style. Jessica Heeps took a first medal for Triathlon as the sport made its debut, followed closely by Alex Robin in the men’s individual event, both winning silver, before combining to win a further silver in the Mixed Relay.
Chris Purdie, Chef de Mission was delighted with the team’s performance and said:
“Trinbago 2023 has been a special Games for everyone in Team Scotland. While finishing third on the medal table is a historic moment for Scotland, we are exceptionally proud that we were able to be represented in all seven sports that were part of the Games in Trinidad and Tobago. The chance to offer up-and-coming athletes the opportunity to compete internationally at a multi-sport event will be something that provides all individuals with significant learning on their performance journey.
“As Chef de Mission for the Team, I can’t thank the staff team enough for all of the work that they did both pre and during the Games. They created a fantastic environment for our young and talented athletes to not only perform to their best ability but to have a positive and memorable experience as well.
“I am tremendously proud of all of our athletes, staff, and wider delegation who have represented Scotland at Trinbago and it is evident that there are many brilliant individuals to watch out for in the future of Scottish sport.”
It was the penultimate day of Trinbago 2023 and Team Scotland had lots of athletes in action across both Trinidad and Tobago, with plenty medals added to the tally.
Up first our Beach Volleyball pair were up against Bermuda in the 7/8th place playoff match. With Bermuda taking the first set, the girls started the second set with purpose gaining a 6 point lead. They used this momentum to take the second set 21-16, with some brilliant points from both players. With the Scottish fans in the crowd (mostly the Men’s Rugby 7s team there to support), Iona and Sasha played some fantastic aces and shots to take the third and final set 15-11 and winning the game 2 sets to 1. After a tough draw in the competition, finishing in 7th place is a brilliant achievement.
Our Fast5 Netball girls had their final group stage match of the tournament against Canada in the morning, with a place on the line for the semi-finals. With a strong first half, the girls kept their composure and took the game 24-2 and booked a spot in the semis against South Africa later on in the evening. A formidable opponent awaited the girls, with some strong shooters in the South African team, the game was going to be tough. The team played well and shooters Niamh Trainer and Heidi Dawson, made some great shots under a lot of pressure and noise from the crowd. Unfortunately the girls lost the game 51-20, but still have a shot at the Bronze medal, where they will face old rivals England.
In Athletics, Lidya Woldeselassie jumped a huge personal best of 2.49m in the T35-38 long jump to finish 6th. Dean Patterson cruised into the 200m final, posting the fastest time in both the heats and semi-finals with 21.32 and 21.15. Caleb McLeod is also safely through to tomorrow’s 800m final, running a well judged race to take one of the three automatic qualifying slots in his semi-final in 1:53.38.
It’s the final day of Trinbago 2023 and we have quite a few medals up for grabs on the Netball court, on the track and in the velodrome. Don’t miss out on all the action and follow live on the Commonwealth Sport YouTube channel.
Here’s what’s coming up on Day 6:
11am (4pm UK) Women’s Keirin – Sarah Johnson
11:09am (4:09pm UK) Women’s Individual Pursuit qualifying – Millie Thomson and Evie White
11:36am (4:36pm UK) Men’s Points Race – Elliot Rowe and Calum Moir
4pm (9pm UK) Women’s Individual Pursuit final
4:16pm (9:16pm UK) Women’s 500m Time Trial – Sarah Johnson and Millie Thomson
4:34pm (9:34pm UK) – Men’s Kilo – Elliot Rowe and Calum Moir
4:55pm (9:55pm UK) Men’s Scratch Race – Elliot Rowe and Calum Moir
5:37pm (10:37pm UK) – Women’s Keirin final
4:15pm (9:15pm UK): Fast5 Netball v England (Bronze Medal Match)
4pm (9pm UK High Jump – Jenna Hilditch
4:15pm (9:15pm UK) Men’s 800m – Caleb McLeod
4:45pm (9:45pm UK) Men’s 200m – Dean Patterson
5.05pm (10:05pm UK) – Women’s 3000m – Amy Teasdale
5.25pm (10:25pm UK) – Men’s 3000m – Reiss Marshall
On day 4 at Trinbago 2023, we are continuing with the Beach Volleyball and Fast5 Netball competitions in Tobago and over in Trinidad there are medal races in the velodrome, Team Scotland athletes on track and field and the last day of swimming action.
Here’s what’s coming up:
9am (2pm UK): Women’s Beach Volleyball v Mozambique
10am (3pm UK) 200m IM – Drew McKenzie and Holly McGill
10:20am (3:20pm UK) 200m IM – Evan Davidson and Matthew Ward
10:40am (3:40pm UK) 50m Freestyle – Laurie Devine
10:56am (3:56pm UK) 50m Freestyle – Stfan Krawiec
11:12am (4:12pm UK) 200m Fly – Holly McGill
11:24am (4:24pm UK) 200m Fly – Stefan Krawiec
11:36am (4:36pm UK) Mixed 4x100m Medley Relay
Finals from 6pm
12:15pm (5:15pm UK): Fast5 Netball v Canada
5:15pm or 7:15pm (10:15pm or 12:15am): Fast5 Netball v TBC
1:06pm (6:06pm UK) Sprint semi-finals – Sarah Johnson
1:24pm (6:24pm UK) Ind. Pursuit bronze race – Elliot Rowe
1:30pm (6:30pm UK) Ind. Pursuit gold race – Calum Moir
1:53pm (6:53pm UK) Sprint final
2pm (7pm UK) Scratch Race – Mille Thomson and Evie White
4:35pm (9.35pm UK) 200m Heats – Dean Patterson
6pm (11pm UK) 800m Semi-finals – Caleb McLeod
6:20pm (11:20pm UK) T35-38 Long Jump – Lidya Woldeselassie
First up on Day 4 of Trinbago 2023, the Triathlon Mixed Relay took place at Buccoo Beach in Tobago, with Jessica Heeps and Alex Robin teaming up together to try and add another medal to their individual silvers.
Up first was Alex, who swam a strong swim and was close to the leader from Jersey and kept in the front pack in the bike ride. After three laps of the run, Alex was sitting in second place as he tapped in Jessica to compete the second phase of the race. As a strong swimmer, Jessica closed the gap between first and second and was in a very strong position going into the bike race. After a tough run in the heat and humidity, Jess ran a great circuit to take home the Silver Medal, alongside Alex.
Making it’s debut at Trinbago 2023, Triathlon has been a fantastic success for our Scottish triathlon athletes and they have cemented themselves in the history books of Commonwealth Youth Games.
Today the Men’s Rugby 7s team made history at Trinbago 2023, as they became the first team in Scottish history to win a team medal at a Commonwealth or Commonwealth Youth Games.
With the mighty Fijians as their opponent in the Gold medal match, the task was going to be a tough one, as they were the only team in the competition who were still unbeaten.
Both teams got off to a quick start with two tries in the opening minutes and going into half time with the score tied 10-10, we knew this was going to go down to the wire.
Two second half tries from Fiji and from Scotland, scored by Jack Craig and Fergus Watson, saw the end of regulation time finish 20-20. Extra time here we come…
In line with the competition guidelines, we were heading to a golden try finish and the pressure was on. The team kept brilliant composure and focus and held off the attacks from Fiji. With a great burst of play, the ball came across to the right wing to Ross Birnie, who flew up the line to score the winning try! Final score 25-20 to Scotland!
Captain, Johnny Ventisei, said, “It’s absolutely amazing! I don’t think anyone actually thought we had a chance or that we could go and win it but that only gave us more drive to go out and win it today. The boys were superb against a strong Fijian side, so I’m just so happy with the result.”
Head Coach, Craig Dodds, following the win said, “I couldn’t be more proud of the way we stuck in today. We talked about pack mentality all week. Individually we might not have been as strong as some of the teams that we were up against but as a collective we felt like nobody could beat us. Some people didn’t think we could do what we did, but every person in this group believed we could do out and win it. To win in that way, extra time against Fiji in the final, is just incredible for this group of boys and what memories they are going to have for the rest of their lives.”
Day 3 of Trinbago 2023 brought lots of excitement and success on both the Rugby pitch and the Beach Volleyball court, with athletes battling the intense heat to come away with wins. Athletics got underway for the first time and the cyclists were back in action in the road race.
Our Rugby 7s team were up against the mighty Fijians in the morning session of the competition and put in a fantastic shift against a formidable side but unfortunately fell short, loosing 32-5.
Up next in the afternoon session, the boys were up against another challenging side in the South Africans, who were unbeaten in the competition so far. With record temperatures, the game kicked off and both teams came out hard and the score was ties 12-12 at half time. Going into the final 90 seconds, the team trailed by 5 points and needed at least a try to tie the game and a conversion to win. With a turnover at the other end of the pitch, the boys remained calm and managed to break through the South African defence, with Fergus Watson scoring the winning try and Matthew Urwin clinching the win with the conversion.
Over on the Beach Volleyball courts, our Scottish women’s pair, Iona and Sasha, were in the playoff match up against Vanuatu, with a place in the the quarter finals up for grabs. After leading in the opening points, the girls lost the first set 17-21. With the heat being a challenge for all teams today, the girls had a tough road ahead but stormed to victory in the second set 21-12 and battled the elements to take the third and final set 15-13. A truly exceptional effort from both girls to take their first win of the tournament.
At the Hasley Crawford Stadium, venue for the Opening Ceremony, the Athletics competition got underway. Lidya Woldeselassie, youngest memeber of Team Scotland at just 14, made history by becoming the first athlete to represent Team Scotland in a para-sport event at a Commonwealth Youth Games. She performed superbly, reaching the final of the T35-38 100m where she finished seventh in a personal best of 19.14 seconds. Also in action was Millie McClelland-Brooks who qualified comfortably for tomorrow’s 1500m final, finishing 4th in her semi-final with the top six progressing automatically.
Millie Thomson, Evie White, Elliot Rowe and Joe Cosgrove were back in action in the Cycling road race following the time trial on Saturday. The the women’s race, Evie took 7th while Millie did not finish. In the men’s race Elliot took ninth and Joe 13th, behind gold medallist Oisin Ferrity of Northern Ireland.
It’s Day 4 of Trinbago 2023 and we have an action packed day with all 7 sports taking place across Trinidad and Tobago and a number of medal opportunities up for grabs. The action on Trinidad starts with swimming heats and then over to Velodrome for the first time at Trinbago 2023. Over on Tobago, we have the final day of the Rugby 7s, the start of the Netball Fast5 competition and the Triathlon mixed relay.
Here’s what’s coming up today:
8:30am (1:30pm UK): Mixed Relay Triathlon
9am (2pm UK): Men’s Rugby 7s v Trinidad and Tobago
10am (3pm UK): Beach Volleyball v Australia
10am (3pm UK): Women 100m Backstroke Heats
10:35am (3:35pm UK): Women 400m Freestyle Heats
10:50am (3:50pm UK): Men 400m Freestyle Heats
11am (4pm UK): Women 100m Butterfly Heats
11:24am (4:24pm UK): Men 100m Butterfly Heats
11:50am (4:50pm UK): Women 200m Backstroke Heats
12pm (5pm UK): Men 200m Backstroke Heats
12:10pm (5:10pm UK): Mixed 4x100m Freestyle Relay
12:15pm (5:15pm): Fast5 Netball v Australia
1pm (6pm UK): Junior Men Sprint Quals
1:12pm (6:12pm UK): Junior Women Sprint Quals
1:25pm (6:25pm UK): Junior Men Pursuit Quals
1:55pm (6:55pm UK): Junior Men Sprint 1/4 Final Ride 1
2:07pm (7:07pm UK): Junior Women Sprint 1/4 Final Ride 1
2:19pm (7:19pm UK): Junior Men Sprint 1/4 Final Ride 2
2:31pm (7:31pm UK): Junior Women Sprint 1/4 Final Ride 2
2:44pm (7:44pm UK): Junior Women Points Race Final
2pm or 3pm T.B.C (7pm or 8pm UK): Rugby 7s Medal Match
4:45pm (9:45pm UK): Women’s 1500m Heats
6pm (11pm UK): Swimming Finals
6:15pm (11:15pm UK): Fast5 Netball v Trinidad and Tobago
Day 2 of Trinbago 2023 saw our two Scottish triathletes compete in the inaugural Commonwealth Youth Games Triathlon event, where both Alex Robin and Jessica Heeps came away with a silver medal and have cemented their names into the Youth Games history books.
The women’s event was up first at Buccoo Beach in Tobago, and Jessica led the first leg of the race after a really strong swim and then joined the front pack of five for the cycling leg. Competing against some tough competition, Jessica pulled away from the pack during her run and broke into her own stride to come second behind a strong Australian.
Up next was the men’s event and with the blazing sun high in the sky, it was going to be tough conditions for the athletes. Once again, Alex started off with an extremely strong swim and lead the group for over two third of the swim lap. Leaving the water, Alex and two other athletes from Jersey and Australia were in the lead pack for most of the rest of the race until the final lap of the run, where Alex finished in a strong second position.
“Yea, I’m pretty happy. I came here to medal and throughout the race that was constantly going through my head and kept me going. The way the tactics played out and with being in the front pack of three and decided to keep working in that in order to secure the medal.”
“The swim was amazing, and nice to have a hot swim, non-wet suiting and doesn’t feel freezing in comparison to Scotland.”
The mixed relay is taking place on Tuesday 8th August at 0830am (2:30pm UK Time) at Buccoo Bay, Tobago.
What a start for the Men’s Rugby 7s team, who took home two wins in their opening two games of these Youth Games. Hosted at the Shaw Park Sports Complex in Tobago, the boys were in for a tough day, with high temperatures and new competition.
Kicking off against Canada in their opening game, the team came away with a 24-12 win, and showcasing a good solid performance against a competitive opponent. The heat in Tobago has presented challenges with many of our athletes, who are not used to this sort of temperature, however the team remained focussed and got the job done.
Up first in the afternoon session, the team faced Jamaica, who are a team known for their speed and agility, however the Scottish boys matched this in spades, producing a dominant performance, winning 52-0 and securing the second win of the day.
Tomorrow, on Day 3 of the Trinbago 2023, the Rugby 7s team face two tough opponents in Fiji at 9am (2pm UK time) and South Africa at 1pm (6pm UK time).