Team Scotland start training in Delhi as Saltire is raised in the Village

September 28, 2010

Following the excitement of yesterday’s arrival in Delhi, today was all about getting down to more serious business and Team Scotland’s Archers, Lawn Bowlers and Shooters set off early this morning to their respective training venues.

After a week of uncertainty the Archery Team couldn’t be more excited to be in Delhi and shot straight into training.

The ten archers, a mixture of compound and recurve disciplines, will enter the competition on the first day of the sports programme on Monday 4 October in the Qualification Round at the Yamuna Sports Centre, which is also the training venue.

Recurve archer Simon Needlam, who previously competed in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney as well as European and World Championships for Great Britain commented: “It’s amazing to be here in Delhi and getting ready to compete, and the fact that this is the first time in almost 30 years archery has featured in a Commonwealth Games sports programme makes it all the more special. Today was all about getting acclimatised and used to shooting in a new environment and going to the Yamuna Centre made it seem all the more real.”

Team Leader Bob Provan added: “The team were still all a bit tired from the journey but really up for their first training session. We’ve planned the training schedule to mirror the competition programme so the athletes get used to the elements at that particular time of day, with recurve happening in the morning and compound in the afternoon. I’m confident that in getting the archers used to the venue and environment, we will have the best chance of success.”

The Lawn Bowls teams were in action too, taking their first steps onto the greens at the Jawaharal Nehru Sports Complex and they were delighted with what they found.

Women’s coach Robbie Dobbins worked with all bowlers on drawing and driving skills as adjusting to a synthetic surface instead of the usual grass, will be one of the challenges they face in the coming week before competition commences on the 4October.

Men’s Team Leader George Sneddon was happy with their first session saying, “Today was really a break-in session for everyone just to acclimatise with the weather but also the surface. We’ve had a good two hour session today and it all went very smoothly from the journey from the village and the facilities we found on arrival.”

David Peacock, part of the reigning world champion triples team agreed saying: “The venue is very impressive and it’s all looking in great shape. We’ve had a good first practice today and we’re enjoying everything so far.”

Sneddon stressed it is important for the athlete’s not to over train but that everyone gets the feel of things in Delhi.

He explained, “We’ve travelled and played all over the world so we are comfortable and feeling good ahead of the Games. This week we’ll put in some good practice sessions but first we’re going to enjoy some free time tonight with a good tour around the Games Village.

“There are a few of the team who haven’t played on the surface before so the next few days will be important for them to settle in and gain confidence to go for the required shots when the competition begins.”

The draw has yet to be made as the organisers wait for the final few teams to confirm participation. Once this is done, George and his counterpart for the women’s team, Betty Forsyth, will arrange matches with teams who are not in their pool for more competitive training and practice.

When the bowlers returned from training they arrived back in the Athletes’ Village to find they had been joined by more of their fellow competitors as a further 61 athletes and officials from Scotland’s Gymnastics, Hockey and Tennis Teams were welcomed to Delhi this afternoon.

Tennis player Mhairi Brown, who won a team silver medal at the inaugural Commonwealth Youth Games in Edinburgh in 2000, said: “We’ve had a look round the village and everything looks really good. Everyone in India has been very welcoming and friendly and very willing to help.”

And finally, there was a fine sight for Scottish eyes today, with the Saltire now flying proudly over the Athletes’ Village in Delhi! The Scottish flag was raised as Team Scotland was officially welcomed to the Games by the Delhi Organising Committee.

On behalf of Team Scotland Chef de Mission Jon Doig thanked the people of India for welcoming the athletes to Delhi, going on to say: “I’m very proud of our team who are here today for the work they have put in over the last four years.

“We look forward to the competition and we look forward to the great comradeship with all our other friends from around the Commonwealth and we look forward to a successful Games.”

After the welcoming ceremony weightlifter Tommy Yule, a bronze medallist in Melbourne in 2006 said: “It was great to experience the welcome ceremony, to hear Flower of Scotland played and to see them raise the flag. It was a proud moment and it makes it more real. This is it, the Games are here!”

The Games are due to start on Monday 4 October and will continue until Thursday 14 October.

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