With a busy year of selection concluded, the stage is now set and the first large group of Team Scotland athletes will head to Gold Coast, Australia today, with a total of 224 athletes ready to fly the flag for Scotland on the international stage when the 21st Commonwealth Games get underway in just 14 days-time.
This is the biggest team Scotland has ever sent to an overseas Commonwealth Games. It includes 93 women, the biggest female contingent to travel to an away Games and in a first for Team Scotland, there will be two female entries in women’s Boxing.
Scotland will participate in all 18 sports on the Games programme and with a number of Olympic, Paralympic, World, Commonwealth and European medallists across the team, there is a strong belief that the target of more than 29 medals is achievable.
Also included in the ranks are 18 Para-Sport athletes, who will compete in six of the seven Para-Sport disciplines, which are fully integrated into the Games. Gold Coast will host the biggest ever Para-Sport programme in Commonwealth Games history with 38 medal events.
58% of the team will make their Games debut, while seven athletes were on the Team the last time the Games were in Australia at Melbourne 2006. For Bowler Alex Marshall and Shooter Ian Shaw, Gold Coast 2018 will be an incredible sixth Games appearance.
The youngest athlete on the team is Para-Swimmer Toni Shaw from Aberdeen at 14 years and eight months, whilst the oldest is David Thomas, a Para-Bowls director at 63 years of age. Six athletes will celebrate their birthday during the Games.
There are four lots of siblings selected; cyclists Katie and John Archibald, Jennifer and Seonaid McIntosh in Shooting whilst in Hockey, William Marshall and Kareena Cuthbert and brothers, Alan and David Forsyth. There are also a few dads in team management or coaching roles, with Donald McIntosh, Derek Forsyth and Wrestling coach Volodymyr Gladkov, father of Alex also on the team.
In another first, Beth Potter will become the first athlete to compete in two sports for Team Scotland at a single Games, selected for Triathlon and then will also compete on the track in the 10,000m.
The Commonwealth Youth Games and Team Scotland’s Achieve Programme continue to demonstrate their worth, with 29 athletes having come through these important development initiatives.
Whilst the focus is on the Gold Coast, we welcome back Basketball to the Team for the first time since 2006 with their preliminary matches a three hour flight away in Townsville. Perfectly suited to the Gold Coast, Beach Volleyball makes its Games debut, with Scottish representation in both men’s and women’s Pairs, playing at the magnificent Coolangatta Beachfront venue, down by the New South Wales border.
Commenting on the final team preparations, Jon Doig OBE, Team Scotland Chef de Mission said: “We have always prided ourselves on being the best prepared team possible and this year is no exception. However none of this would be possible without the unwavering support of our sports governing bodies and the sportscotland institute of sport, providing a world class team behind the team.
“We are particularly grateful for the sportscotland National Lottery funding which is supporting our Team Camp on the Sunshine Coast, where the majority of sports will either pass through for acclimatisation, or use it as their final training base ahead of the Games.
“I look forward to Team Scotland athletes creating many memorable sporting moments over the next few weeks and our fabulous role models inspiring all young Scots back at home to get involved in sport and be part of the wider Team Scotland family.”
After months of training and preparation the first large group of athletes will leave Glasgow Airport today, travelling With Emirates Airline to Brisbane via Dubai. Sports on this flight include, Badminton, Beach Volleyball, Gymnastics, Men’s Hockey, Weightlifting and Wrestling.