This time last year, Team Scotland was basking in a Scottish heat wave in the Commonwealth Games Village in Glasgow’s East End, as they made their final preparations for what was to be their most successful Games ever, winning a total of 53 medals including an impressive 19 gold.
One year on, Commonwealth Games Scotland’s new Chairman, Paul Bush OBE reflects on the highlights of the Games and how they have impacted on Scottish sport and what is next for the organisation which played a key role at the heart of Glasgow 2014 for more than 12 years.
Speaking ahead of a visit to Durban, South Africa to inspect plans for the 2022 Commonwealth Games bid, Paul said:
“It was always our ambition to ensure that the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games were athlete centred and sport focused, whilst using the Games as an opportunity for economic regeneration and to showcase the best of Scotland on the international stage. It has been incredible to see how the ‘best Games ever’ and Team Scotland’s best performance ever, winning 53 medals, has continued to make a huge impact across Scottish sport over the last 12 months.
“Our athletes are now widely recognised by the public, who are all still waxing lyrical about their own Games experiences and the profile of Commonwealth Games sports has never been higher. Scottish athletes are continuing to be successful on the international stage and this is undoubtedly inspiring more young people to get involved in sport.”
Since the Games, Team Scotland athletes have benefitted from the Commonwealth Games Scotland medallists reward scheme to the tune of £380,000, allocated to recognise and support the 63 medal-winning athletes once they retire from their high performance sport career. A number of athletes retiring post Glasgow have already drawn down this funding, which was £10,000 for gold, £5,000 for silver and £2,500 for bronze.
Commonwealth Games Scotland has also been working closely with the University of Stirling, who host their archive, and is delighted that the touring exhibition has proved so popular with the public as it has travelled around the country. ‘Hosts and Champions: Scotland in the Commonwealth Games’ is packed with photographs, clothes and assorted artefacts charting more than 80 years of Scotland’s participation and achievement in the Commonwealth Games.
Fittingly, it opens at the University’s MacRobert Arts Centre on 23 July celebrating the one-year anniversary of the opening ceremony of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The Team Scotland Twitter feed has also become established as an extensive and reliable source of information on Scottish Commonwealth sports and athletes, growing to an incredible 63,000 followers the most of any Commonwealth Games Association, whilst the goscotland.org supporters’ website is undergoing a re-fresh in preparation for the September Youth Games.
Looking to the future, Bush added: “As an organisation, Commonwealth Games Scotland is now focused on the next Games cycle leading up to the Gold Coast in 2018. We are currently making final preparations for our Youth Team of 29 athletes, who will travel to Samoa in September for the fifth Commonwealth Youth Games, where I am confident that our stars of the future will get their first multi-sport Games experience and follow in the footsteps of Glasgow 2014 heroes like Hannah Miley, Lynsey Sharp and Charlie Flynn to name but a few.
“The Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly in Auckland, immediately prior to Samoa, will first receive a final report on Glasgow 2014, before making vital decisions about the future of the Games, both in terms of future host venues and the shape of the sports programme and athlete quotas. Decisions made will have a real impact on our sports governing bodies back here in Scotland.
“It is vital that we continue to play a leading role in the implementation of the CGF’s new strategic plan, to ensure that future generations of athletes have the best possible opportunity to represent Scotland on the international stage and that the Commonwealth Games plays a key role in the performance pathway.”