Scotland’s athletes are now under starter’s orders for Glasgow 2014, with the official Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) selection period to qualify for Team Scotland opening at the start of April 2013.
Athletes from the 17 sports on the Games programme will have just over a year to produce the necessary performances to lay claim to a coveted place on the Team, for what promises to be an amazing home Games. What makes it even more special is the fact that the Commonwealth Games is the only multi-sport event where athletes get to compete for Scotland as a nation in its own right.
Already there are indications of excellent early season form, with 11 athletes in three sports having performed to agreed selection standard on one occasion. This includes marathon runners Derek Hawkins, Susan Partridge and Hayley Haining who all finished inside the standard at last Sunday’s London Marathon, completing the first step towards selection. In addition, lawn bowls have already secured their full quota of 10 athlete places following outstanding results at last December’s World Championships.
Speaking at a press conference in Glasgow today (25 April), CGS Chief Executive and Team Scotland Chef de Mission, Jon Doig, explained how the selection policy will operate.
“Competing for Scotland at a Commonwealth Games is a highlight of any athlete’s career and the added opportunity to compete at a home games is a privilege experienced by very few athletes.
“Over the last three Games cycles, Team Scotland has had increasing success, largely as a result of a robust, clear, consistent selection policy and a strong team ethos, backed with excellent high performance support from sportscotland. I can confirm that this approach will continue so that each athlete selected will be assured of the support of their team mates in the knowledge that all have deserved the honour of representing Scotland at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“The two aims of the policy are to ensure that Scotland selects a team that performs with distinction in 2014, and has its most successful Games ever in terms of medals won.”
Amongst the key elements of the policy are:
All individual sports on the 2014 programme will be represented by a minimum of three athletes, with the performance target of top eight or top two thirds of the field at recent Commonwealth Games, whichever is the tighter, being used as the benchmark.
All host team sport places will be accepted to ensure Team Scotland representation in each sport in the Games, with the performance target of top eight in the Commonwealth.
Consideration will be given to allow athletes to participate in additional events to those they qualify in, giving an opportunity to be inspired by a ‘Home Games’ environment.
Sport specific selection standards have now been published in conjunction with each sport’s governing body and provide clear targets for athletes to achieve.
Go-Scotland-Web.jpgWith the clear aim for Team Scotland being to have its largest and most successful team ever in Glasgow, and with many of our athletes having experienced first-hand the excitement of a home Olympic Games in London last year, with its venues full of a passionate home crowd, CGS is planning to replicate that national feel good factor here in Scotland.
To highlight the start of the build-up to the Games for Team Scotland, CGS today launched its new public engagement campaign ‘Go Scotland!’ The campaign aims to raise the awareness of the 17 sports in the Games and give greater profile to the athletes aiming for selection to the team. It’s also calling for the whole of Scotland to get behind the team by pledging their support at goscotland.org and through social media channels.
To mark the occasion a special edition set of athlete images are being published, showing prospective Team Scotland athletes in a different and unusual light, as they have never been seen before. Taken at the magnificent Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, the theme of the photographs is about sport meeting culture, which will be reflected in 2014 through the extensive cultural festival that is being organised as part of the Commonwealth Games and which will showcase Glasgow’s international reputation as a cultural as well as sporting centre of excellence.
The group shot shows the full range of sports in the Games and the strength and unity of the team, whilst each of the individual photos links the athlete and their sport to an exhibit or the architecture in Kelvingrove, drawing out the parallels between the two either in terms of the movement involved or key attributes of the sport. They aim to create a talking point and everyone will have their own favourite!
Calling for people to back the campaign, CGS Chairman Michael Cavanagh said: “Today marks the start of the journey to Glasgow 2014 for Scotland’s athletes as they strive to meet the agreed selection standards for Team Scotland and we are greatly encouraged by the performances so far.
“The athletes greatly value the support of their family and friends, but to know that they have the additional backing from the Scottish public as a whole, would mean a lot to them, just as it did to Team GB in London last year. This is why we have launched this campaign today to encourage everyone across the length and breadth of the country to actively support us in our quest for success in Glasgow and share our journey to the Games.”
Sport Minister Shona Robison said: “This is an exciting time for Team Scotland and all Scottish athletes who have been in training for the Games for years – now it’s crunch time. The Team has all the ingredients to succeed next year, with outstanding facilities, high standards of coaching and an extra £1 million Scottish Government funding this year for elite sport. Team Scotland will be the strongest and best prepared team possible and I want to see everyone in Scotland get behind all of our athletes and sign up for the Go Scotland! campaign. Together we can boost Team Scotland to win gold and deliver the best ever Commonwealth Games.”
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said: “It’s a really exciting time for sport in Scotland and today’s launch of ‘Go Scotland!’ represents another significant milestone on the road to Glasgow.
“The sportscotland institute of sport coaches, experts, and scientists work very closely with Scotland’s high performance athletes and, consequently, they are as well prepared as they ever have been going into a Commonwealth Games. All of Scotland will be fully behind our athletes, and it will be an incredible experience for them to compete in front of a raucous home crowd.”
David Grevemberg, Chief Executive of Glasgow 2014, said: “The passion and enthusiasm of home support for Team Scotland will be a defining element of a successful Commonwealth Games for Glasgow and Scotland.
“This is a real opportunity for people in communities across Scotland to start connecting with a new generation of home-grown sporting heroes and heroines and share the journey with them towards success at our home Games.”