With less than eight months to go until the next Commonwealth Games, Team Scotland is delighted to confirm the first tranche of team sports set to compete in the Gold Coast next April following invitations from the Games Organising Committee.
Netball, Men’s Basketball and Men’s Rugby Sevens will all be represented, as Team Scotland aims for its most successful ever overseas Games.
Netball will compete in their second successive Games having enjoyed and benefited from the experience of Glasgow 2014, where they finished eighth, four places above their ranking going in to the competition.
Once again Scotland were placed 12th in the latest International Netball Federation world ranking to book their spot alongside 11 other teams: Australia, New Zealand, England, Jamaica, South Africa, Malawi, Fiji, Wales, Uganda, Northern Ireland and Barbados.
However Netball Scotland Head Coach, Gail Parata, is confident that the recent rankings are not a true reflection of the strong progress the sport has made in Scotland over recent years and that they will be ready to punch above their weight at Gold Coast 2018 saying: “We are delighted to have qualified for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Having sat comfortably in 10th place in the rankings for the past year and only dropped to 12th as a result of other test matches having taken place ahead of qualification, we know that where we sit on the world table is not indicative of where we can finish in world competition. Scotland is definitely on the rise.”
“With the launch of our UK Superleague franchise, stand out performances at Netball Europe and most recently the Netball World Youth Cup where we achieved our best ever results with a top eight finish, we know that we have a strong national team that can compete with higher ranked countries. We are aiming to be one of the teams to watch in the Gold Coast, where we will be fit, confident and ready to challenge for a top eight finish once again.”
The Gold Coast 2018 netball competition commences with preliminary matches at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre from 5-12 April before culminating in the finals matches at the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre on 14-15 April.
Netball fans won’t have to wait long to learn which teams Scotland will face in the preliminary group stage, with the official draw expected in the next few weeks.
Basketball makes its first return to the Commonwealth Games sport programme since 2006 where it made its Games debut. Scotland’s men will get their second taste of Team Scotland representation having finished sixth in Melbourne.
The other seven teams in the men’s competition are: Australia, Cameroon, Canada, England, India, New Zealand, Nigeria.
The competition will be split into two pools of four, with nations to face off against teams in their pool during the preliminary rounds to be held in Townsville and Cairns between 5-10 April before the finals at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre from 13-15 April.
The pools and match schedules for the Basketball preliminaries will be announced in the coming weeks.
Pleased to be in the Games in 2018, Kieron Achara, Men’s Basketball team captain said: “It is a great honour for basketball to be representing Team Scotland at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. We have been working really hard as a squad in preparation and we are motivated to make our country proud on the Gold Coast next April.”
The preliminary rounds of the Basketball competition will take place in Townsville and Cairns before moving south to the Gold Coast Convention Centre for the semi finals and finals.
Men’s Rugby Sevens has also had their place confirmed and will compete for Team Scotland in their fifth Commonwealth Games. Following success in the 2016-17 HSBC Sevens World Series, with a notable win at the final event in London and with new coach John Dalziel at the helm, the team will be aiming to build on their seventh place finish in Glasgow 2014.
A total of 10 teams including hosts Australia have been confirmed so far based on world rankings, with the remaining six places to be determined at regional competitions over the next few months. It is expected that the full line-up and draw will be announced by Gold Coat 2018 towards the end of November.
The Rugby Sevens competition will be played in the Robina Stadium over the final weekend of the Games 13-15 April and Games organisers will be hoping to attract the same world record crowds which supported the event at Ibrox in Glasgow.
Scotland Sevens Head Coach John Dalziel said: “Everyone is very focused and excited at the start of a huge season for Rugby Sevens. The opportunity to be selected, to represent your country in a Commonwealth Games is very special and everyone is driving towards this.
“The memories of Glasgow 2014 and the way the Scottish crowd got behind the team are very special, the players and everyone involved will be looking to inspire those supporters and look forward to their passionate support in the Gold Coast.”
Scotland Sevens Captain Scott Riddell said: “I’ve been part of two previous Commonwealth Games, Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014 and each were amazing in their own right.
“The home crowd at Ibrox was incredible, the noise was unbelievable and the Gold Coast presents a massive opportunity to improve on our finish from the last Games.
“The Commonwealth Games are different to the World Series, being part of a larger Team Scotland and supporting other athletes at the Games is all part of the experience.”
Team Scotland Chef de Mission, Jon Doig OBE said: “I am delighted that we have received and accepted invitations from Gold Coast 2018 to compete in Netball, Basketball and Rugby Sevens. Congratulations to all the players, coaches and support staff in achieving the necessary results for selection which is testament to their dedication hard work.
“The team sports bring a special dimension to the makeup of Team Scotland and we hope they will be joined by other team sports in the near future.”
Individual athlete selection for all three sports will not be made until early in 2018 to ensure athlete form and fitness.
With the qualification still continuing for other team sports, Team Scotland is also hoping for invitations from Gold Coast 2018 to compete in Hockey (Men and Women) and Beach Volleyball.