Lesley MacDonald is a veteran of international netball – she reached the 100 cap mark back in May 2011 and has played in World Championships and other top level competitions around the world.
However, there is still one thing missing from her netball CV – a Commonwealth Games and she is going all out to make sure she adds that to her list of achievements in 2014.
MacDonald explains, “I have had the privilege to compete for Scotland for the past 13 years and have been at World Championships, but until now never had the opportunity to compete at a Commonwealth Games. I’m delighted we now have that opportunity and for me it would top off a very successful career.”
“It has been a long career and I’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices, but at the same time I take a lot of pride in competing for my country and to do that at the pinnacle of a Commonwealth Games would be special. You train your entire career for these opportunities.”
MacDonald grew up in Kirkcaldy in a sporting family who’ve supported her aspirations every step of the way and she wants to repay them by representing Scotland on home soil at the Games.
“My family has had a major influence on my career; they’ve supported me since primary school when I was involved in every after-school club possible. Netball is about me playing but at the same time it’s about giving something back to my family for all the support they’ve given me. They are very excited for me to be involved and to support the team.”
Juggling top-level sport and a career is never easy but Lesley’s love of sport runs across both. MacDonald works as a Sports Development Office in Glasgow focusing on developing participation in netball and judo in schools and clubs. She is Assistant Coach to the Scotland U21 side and Technical Coach for Netball Scotland. She plays her own club netball with Scotstoun Netball Club.
“I’m working hard to get that dream of scoring for Scotland, but at the same time I don’t want to be too outcome focused before I make it. The hard work has started and I need to do everything I can to make the Team.”
“We have the European Championships in June so it’s an opportunity for us to have a home crowd with the potential team to compete at the Commonwealth Games so we have a full training programme which started on 1 March for the next 16 months. We have had an intense four and a half years and we’re now going into the last phase to take us up to the Commonwealth Games.”
Looking ahead to the Games, it’s the thrill of playing to a packed crowd on home soil that MacDonald thinks will be one of the high points for the team.
“Something we’re really looking forward to the most is showcasing the sport and showing Scotland what it’s like to compete on the international level. I am really looking forward to the Scottish crowd coming along to support us.”
“For me there is nothing better than stepping out onto the court and hearing the support behind you. To have that at the home Commonwealth Games is something every athlete involved will treasure for the rest of their careers.”
“This is the first opportunity to take part in a Commonwealth Games for us. You can get caught up in your own sport, so to be able to acknowledge the elite athletes across different sports will be nice and get to know them too. We will all be part of one team and it’s good to be able to support all the Scottish athletes and encourage them as they will us.”
You can follow Lesley on Twitter @lesleymac6
Photo Credit: Alistair Devine