2002 Commonwealth Games preview
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Shrouded in anonymity and painfully aware of the general indifference shown to her chosen vocation, from her base far away in Vancouver Island, swimmer Alison Sheppard could be forgiven for being a member of the bitter and twisted club. But not a word of it. Instead, as Scotland’s outstanding medal prospect for the Commonwealth Games, the 29-year-old just keeps rolling along, improving her standards and displaying a delightfully sunny disposition. She brooks no talk of being second best.
THE best selling point of the Commonwealth Games as far as competitors are concerned is the fact that, win or lose, they do it for Scotland. No GB vest or God Save the Queen to muddy allegiances. As a proud Scot learning their trade this is the one they allegedly yearn for.
As somebody who experienced the thrill of winning a Commonwealth Games silver medal in Kuala Lumpur four years ago, I am absolutely mortified that injury has ruled me out of the imminent carnival in Manchester.
WHEN Willie Wood first started his love affair with bowls, Clement Attlee was the Prime Minister, Mount Everest hadn’t been conquered and a king reigned in Buckingham Palace. Back then, in 1951, as a 13-year-old dweller in the East Lothian village of Gifford, Wood could scarcely have imagined he would travel round the world and dominate his sport with a resilience and sustained excellence to serve Scotland proud. But he did. And he has.
Scotland’s five-strong table tennis squad heads towards the new Table Tennis Centre at Sport City in Manchester without the weight of expectation heaped upon arch-rivals England but national coach Kevin Satchell is quietly confident that his team of four men and one woman can fill the role of dark horses and return north with some medals.
BLOKES in New Zealand love rugby and garden sheds. They also love supporting the women’s national netball team, the Silver Ferns. Or perhaps that should be brand rather than team. In New Zealand almost everyone is a consumer of international sport and the coaches and players of the various teams try to develop a brand that people will buy into.
As somebody who was once chased out of Fauldhouse by a lynch mob whilst trying to protect myself from an unprovoked attack by the Hound of the Baskervilles, it shouldn’t really have raised any eyebrows when Scotland’s Commonwealth Games officials chose to unveil their boxing squad for Manchester at the Fauldhouse Miners’ Welfare Club last month.
HELEN Galashan was a twinkle in her father’s eye when the Commonwealth Games last visited Britain. The gymnast was born a year later, in 1987; fourteen years later she finds herself the youngest member of the Scottish team.
THE Commonwealth may be an antiquated concept as far as some are concerned, but they could never accuse the Commonwealth Games of not attempting to move with the times.
His team-mate Graeme Randall is one of the better-known names in the Bank of Scotland Scottish team for the Commonwealth Games, but David Somerville is considered by certain others to be a quiet contender.
IN a competitive world, it doesn’t matter how fast you run, there’s always somebody chasing. In Manchester, Dwain Chambers will be happy with that scenario, provided he is not the one stuck in the slipstream.
As he prepares to leap into the unknown in Manchester, nobody could ever accuse Darren Ritchie of not paying his dues to the world of athletics.
KIRSTIE Law IS only ever concerned with putting weight on - stacks of it, at either end of the steel bar that she heaves above her head. Instead of the quaint Weightwatchers-style analogies about meagre 2lb bags of sugar, Law deals in tons, as she pumps iron every day, 18 tons in a week, 360-times her own bodyweight. Someone once pointed out that it is the equivalent of pushing two double decker buses over her head every week. Hold very tight now.
WHAT goes around comes around is probably a fitting phrase when it comes to guys whose lives are nothing if not cyclical.
Few will contest the argument that Kenya, at the Commonwealth Games and on the running track, is a powerhouse. But it was not always thus, and far fewer will appreciate that the present-day strength of the African nation owes much to an 80-year-old Englishman, now resident in Cumbria, but hoping to take his place in the stands in Manchester.