TEAM Scotland is on course for its best ever Commonwealth Games as it equalled its record for gold medals last night following a day of drama and glory at Glasgow 2014.
A trio of top podium spots in judo helped the host nation hit 11 gold and 25 medals overall – just three days into the tournament.
With eight days still to go the standing record of 33 medals set at Edinburgh in 1986 looks set to be surpassed. Its current gold record was set in Melbourne in 2006.
The haul was boosted significantly by evening performances by team flag-bearer Euan Burton, 35, and his judo team-mates Sarah Adlington and Chris Sherrington.
And Ross Murdoch, aged 20, added bronze in the 100m breast stroke to his stunning gold in the 200m, behind Team England star Adam Peaty, 19, who clinched the top podium spot. Murdoch, from Stirling, said: “You’ve got to love it. It’s the home crowd, the noise they make when you come out is something I’ll never forget.”
Burton clinched gold in the men’s judo under-100kg after a hard-fought battle with Shah Hussain Shah of Pakistan, who he threw and held down to submission before taking in the wave of euphoria as the Saltires flew around Hall 3.
His wife Gemma Gibbons, 27, clinched silver for Team England in the under-78kg judo, and tweeted: “The most fantastic & amazing husband who went one better & brought home the gold for our family!”
Burton was closely followed by Adlington, who edged out England’s Jodie Myers in the women’s plus 78kg, and Royal Marine Chris Sherrington, who beat South African Ruan Snyman to claim the men’s plus 100kg title.
Adlington added: “We’ve had a fantastic Games. I know what I’m capable of and to achieve it today is incredible.”
Mike Whittingham, director of high performance at the sportscotland institute of sport, added: “To have won 11 gold medals during the first three days of competition is testament to the hard work of the Team Scotland athletes, coaches, and support staff.
“There were some phenomenal performances today. With the overall tally currently at 25 it’s looking extremely positive and with great momentum behind Team Scotland hopefully more medals will come.”
Earlier, Neil Fachie and Craig MacLean scooped gold in the men’s sprint B2 tandem after a dramatic fightback in the para-sports event. The pair – who also won Friday’s 1,000m time trial – lost the first of their best-of-three final to Australia’s Kieran Modra and Jason Niblett, but fought back to win the next two races and take the top podium spot.
“We were suffering – how we got through it I don’t know,” said Fachie, 29.
In bowls, the visually impaired duo of Irene Edgar and Robert Conway won silver in their para-sport mixed pairs final.
Drew Christie, 34, also took silver in the skeet shooting event in Carnoustie, losing to Georgios Achilleos of Cyprus. “Last time in Delhi, I was fourth and missed out, so to make it into the top two is just brilliant,” said Christie.
“The support has been brilliant, I could not have done it without them.”
Team Scotland narrowly missed out on causing a major upset for New Zealand in the rugby sevens, running the reigning champions to 17-14 at Ibrox.
Meanwhile, the Games got its first taste of Boltmania yesterday, when the superstar touched down at Glasgow Airport. The world’s fastest man made his first public appearance at a packed press conference to confirm that crowds would be treated to a double dose of his talents. He will take to the Hampden Park track next Friday for the relay heats and on Saturday for the final – provided Jamaica get there.
Bolt’s arrival for what are his first Commonwealth Games went some way to restoring a bit of sparkle to proceedings following the disappointment midweek when double Olympic gold winner Mo Farah pulled out due to illness.
The six-time Olympic champion banished any fears that he was still nursing a foot injury that has kept him out of competition all season.
“I will be running in the heats. The injury is completely gone,” he said. “Fitness-wise I have done a lot of training over this past month. I have been really pushing myself. I think I am in pretty good shape, but I’m not in running shape – that’s why I am running the heats, just to get a few runs in.”
While the Games events continued to run smoothly, fans travelling from the Eurocentral Park and Ride in Motherwell for the rugby sevens fixtures at Ibrox faced traffic disruption and 90-minute delays.
Gregor Russell posted on Twitter: “This AM had a 2+hr wait and was 45min late no thanks to @FirstinGlasgow.”