IT WAS a day as golden as the weather. Team Scotland set a blistering pace on the opening day of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow by scooping four golds among a staggering clutch of ten medals, including three silver and three bronze.
Scotland last night stood third in the medals table after the nation’s best-ever opening day at any Commonwealth Games.
Six of the team’s medals were won in judo where two sisters from Edinburgh, Kimberley and Louise Renicks, each took gold in their individual competitions.
Stephanie Inglis scooped silver, and three team-mates – James Millar, Connie Ramsay and John Buchan – all won bronze.
Scotland also made a big splash in the pool where one of the finest images of the day was Hannah Miley, biting her lip to stop tears flowing as Flower of Scotland swirled around Tollcross Swimming Centre, while around her neck hung the gold medal for the 400m individual medley.
Two hours later it was the turn of Ross Murdoch to climb on to the medal rostrum after winning gold in the men’s swimming 200m breaststroke, beating his team-mate and hot favourite Michael Jamieson, who took silver.
In a thrilling race Miley, who was trailing for a period after leading at the beginning, pulled ahead of the English swimmer Aimee Willmott on the final turn and powered to victory, driven on by an ecstatic home crowd waving saltires.
Miley, 24, from Inverurie, said of her gold medal: “It means the world to me. There is nothing like standing on that podium in front of a home crowd. I will never experience that again and it was worth all the pain and all the effort.
“It was emotional because everything came together, I was thinking about the sacrifices that I have made and my family have made. It has been very tough on everybody, not just me. It was a sigh of relief for my whole family. Part of it because they were here to see me, that meant the world to me and to be able to go and hug everybody at the end was an amazing feeling.”
Her mother Carmel said last night: “I am too overcome to say much right now but I couldn’t be prouder of her and how hard she worked to achieve this. It was just the most fantastic swim.”
Gold medal winner Murdoch looked stunned when he spoke poolside after clinching victory in unexpected circumstances, denying Jamieson victory and taking his team-mate’s British record in the process. The 20-year-old from Alexandria said: “This is a dream. I didn’t think I could do it.
“It’s my granddad’s 70th birthday today so this is for him.”
A stunned Jamieson, who was considered one of Scotland’s best chances of a gold medal at these Games, paid tribute to Murdoch but could not disguise his disappointment as he missed out on gold once more, as he did at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 2012 Olympics.
Jamieson said: “Ross has been on great form all season. He’s dropped huge chunks off his best today so he deserved to win. I don’t prepare to come second all the time. It wasn’t good enough tonight.”
Earlier in the evening, Kimberley Renicks, an Edinburgh judoka, won Scotland’s first gold of the Games when she triumphed in the women’s under-48kgs final. Renicks, the younger of the two sisters in the team, then saw her triumph followed shortly after by sibling Louise in the 52kg category, sparking a double family celebration.
Across the city, the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome was turned into a cauldron of speed and noise as Team Scotland cyclists secured the nation’s first medal of the Games, a silver. In the final of the women’s parasport sprint B tandem, there was a valiant performance by Scotland’s Aileen McGlynn and Louise Haston but they were outmuscled by England’s Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott, who took gold.
First Minister Alex Salmond paid tribute to Scotland’s medal winners, tweeting: “Great swims from Ross Murdoch and Michael Jamieson. Gold and silver to end a great first day.”