SCOTLAND’S Erraid Davies swam her way into the history books last night by becoming the country’s youngest ever Commonwealth Games medalist after taking a bronze in the para-sport 100m breastroke final last night.
Roared on by the Tollcross crowd, the 13-year-old put in an impressive swim to finish in 1.21.68 minutes, three-tenths of a second behind Madeleine Scott of Australia, who came second.
Speaking after the competition, Davies, from Shetland, admitted she kept the fact she was spending her summer holidays at the Commonwealth Games a secret from school friends. She took a standing ovation in her stride following the medal ceremony but had earlier shunned the limelight among her friends.
“They didn’t know before I came here, I didn’t really know how to tell them,” she said.
Davies had finished second in the morning heat, which featured the same seven competitors as the final, and admitted she had trouble keeping calm during the afternoon, although she did manage a sleep.
“I knew there were only seven of us in our event, so there was a chance,” she said, giggling. “I started getting really excited this morning. I am really happy to have another PB. I got a medal and I am so happy. I am feeling really, really happy.”
When asked what she felt she could achieve in her sport, she said: “I don’t know. I am just going to keep on swimming and see where it gets me.”
Her victory came on the busiest day of the Games so far, with hundreds of thousands of people flocking to the city on “Super Sunday”. An estimated 180,000 poured into venues to watch the action, while some 30,000 people lined the streets for the route through the heart of Glasgow to cheer on marathon athletes as they passed such iconic landmarks as George Square, Buchanan Street and the Clyde Arc, as well as Bellahouston Park and Pollok Park, crossing the river four times as they ran.
The race saw Australia’s Michael Shelley take the first athletics gold of the Commonwealth Games, the men’s marathon crown. The event started and finished at Glasgow Green, where Shelley crossed the line to win the men’s race with a personal best of two hours, 11 minutes and 15 seconds.
Kenya’s Flomena Cheyech Daniel took the women’s crown, finishing in two hours, 26 minutes and 45 seconds.
Team Scotland swimmer Hannah Miley added the bronze to her gold in the 400m race, finishing just ahead of England’s Aimee Willmott last night, and there was more Scottish success in the pool when Scotland won silver in the 4 x 200 relay.
Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson heaped praise on citizens for coming out and supporting the marathon runners, saying the “Games belong to the people of Glasgow”.
He said: “We’ve enthusiastically thrown ourselves right into the heart of things. Records have been broken, medals have been won, but it has been the people of Glasgow who have stolen the show. The city has come alive, with hundreds of thousands of people enjoying the festival atmosphere and cheering on the world’s best athletes.”
The city council said total attendances at the city’s free “live sites” topped the 225,000 mark, just four days into the Games.
Glasgow Green has been the most popular live site with up to 39,000 people attending over the course of a day. The Merchant City site reached a peak of just under 24,000 on Saturday, with thousands also enjoying the entertainment on show at the newly refurbished Kelvingrove Bandstand.
A further 75,000 people have joined in the fun at the “BBC at the Quay” site since it opened last week, with 15,000 turning up over the course of Saturday alone for live concerts and programmes. There have been 1,350,000 extra journeys by road and rail, with an estimated 780,000 yesterday alone, Glasgow 2014 organisers said.
Brian Devlin, co-chair of the Glasgow 2014 transport programme board, said: “This has been a massive weekend of sport and festival in Glasgow, the city’s largest ever. Over the last two days Glasgow Central Station alone has had the equivalent of the entire population of Glasgow pass through it. Almost 700,000 people have visited the city over the weekend.”