Table Tennis player Colin Dalgleish will make his debut for Team Scotland at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, having had a taste of a big multi-sport event when representing Great Britain at the 2017 World University Games in Taipai.
He joins a highly experienced men’s team for the Games with Gavin Rumgay making his fourth Games appearance and Craig Howieson his third. As part of our Sport Focus series we caught up with Colin on the excitement and pride of competing at his first Games:
“At first the buzz was unbelievable. You train so hard and make the team, but everything can still feel so far off. I had a photoshoot a few weeks ago and then the team camp last month; alongside quite a few interviews, which just reminds you of the achievement of being selected to represent Team Scotland.
“I’m really excited to get going now. It’s been away in the distance and now you can almost touch it. It feels a bit surreal to have so much attention and to get people talking about Table Tennis is fantastic.”
“People don’t really understand the size and scale of the sport. They’ll ask us ‘how often do you train?’ and then seem surprised when we say it’s every day on the table and in the gym. I mean people know that rugby and football players train every day and we openly talk about it, but it’s the exactly the same for us.
“It’s getting better in the UK; things like the British Premier League and the Team World Cup that was on in London a couple of weeks are getting more coverage in the media. Getting the interest and reputation of the sport up in Scotland is really important and it’s hopefully something that will come out of the Games again. It’d be great to bring some new faces and some new talent into the sport.”
“I hadn’t actually done any strength and conditioning work until I came up to Aberdeen and it was through Robert Gordon University and the scholarship programme that I started. Before it, I wasn’t sure how it was going to benefit me, but since I started I haven’t looked back and now it’s like a religion for me to get my two S&C sessions in a week.
“It’s incredible the fine margins that you get; like the additional power and speed. It’s things like getting your arms up quicker or having more power in your legs. When you put it in those terms I think you can understand the impact. Explosiveness is so important in Table Tennis. You obviously need table time to refine your technique, but gym work is definitely understated. Going back now, it’s definitely taken me to the next level.”
“The other guys in the team (Gavin and Craig) have told me loads about what to expect in the Games environment. I actually went to watch quite a lot of the competition in Glasgow 2014, and although I wasn’t playing I picked up lots from just being in and around the venue. The passion of the crowd in Glasgow was clearly special for us and while we’re in Australia I’m sure we’ll still have a great support.
“I was at the last World University Games, which has given me a taste of a multi-sport environment as ideal preparation for Gold Coast. I now know a bit more about what to expect from the village, the dining hall, transport and the Games venues etc. I’m sure there will still be different aspects that I’m not expecting but with the combined knowledge of the team and my own experiences I know we’ll be fine.”
“I think it’s just the full experience. The opening ceremony is always so exciting, though as Table Tennis starts on the first day we don’t always look to march. I’ve never been to Australia before either, and although we’ll mostly just see the inside of the venue, it’ll be great to go and experience another country.
“Being part of Team Scotland is really exciting and I’ve already seen what it means to everyone at the team camp. I can’t wait to get out there now and compete.”