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Three more golds leave Scotland in seventh heaven

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  • by STEPHEN MCGINTY
 

THE Scotland team enjoyed another fine medal haul on day two of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow yesterday, as a further three golds were added to the four won on the opening day.

Swimmer Dan Wallace had the crowd on its feet at Tollcross International Swimming Centre as he came from behind to power to victory in the 400-metres individual medley.

The Scot then shouted “For freedom!” as he celebrated at the end of the race, sparking intense debate on Twitter over whether or not this was a sign of support for independence ahead of the September referendum.

The 21-year-old from Edinburgh came close to missing the Games after landing in trouble in the United States – where he trains – for urinating on a police car.

He was suspended from his swimming team at the University of Florida, and explained the incident as “a poor decision in judgment”.

But his sporting career was firmly back on track last night as he collected Scotland’s seventh gold of these Games.

On Twitter, there was immediate speculation over Wallace’s end-of-race celebration. One poster called ‘Dmac’ asked: “What did Dan Wallace mean ‘for freedom?’ Channeling his namesake and seeking freedom from English rule?”

Matthew Johnstone tweeted: “‘For Freedom’ bellows Daniel Wallace as he torpedoes to gold. Salmond digging out his biggest chuffty badge and heading down the pool.”

And Dan McGuinness wrote: “Loving the aptly named Wallace winning in the pool for Scotland, rises up and shouts ‘For freedom’. Reckon I know how he’ll vote.”

But at his post-race press conference, Wallace said his reaction was simply a demonstration of pride.

“I just yelled at the top of my lungs because being here with the home crowd has really brought out the Braveheart and the Scot inside of me,” said Wallace, who was presented with a commemorative quaich by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the medal ceremony. “I just thought I’d soak up the moment.”

Earlier, Sarah Clark, from Edinburgh, won gold for Scotland in judo. She triumphed in the women’s under-63kg judo final at the SECC. This was Scotland’s third gold in judo, following the individual successes of sisters Kimberley and Louise Renicks on the opening day.

Scotland also won gold in cycling, where Neil Fachie and pilot Craig MacLean triumphed in the para-cycling 1,000m tandem trial for blind and visually impaired athletes, cheered on by comedian Billy Connolly at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

There were further medals for Scotland in swimming and judo. In the pool, Corrie Scott, 20, from Bellshill, took bronze in the women’s 50m breaststroke final, and on the mat, Sally Conway, from Edinburgh, won bronze in the under-70kg category.

Scotland’s medal tally was five for the day, and 15 in total, leaving the country in third place in the medal table behind England and Australia.

Meanwhile, the joint captain of the Welsh athletics team was suspended from the Games after failing a drug test.

Rhys Williams, the European 400m hurdles champion and son of Welsh rugby legend JJ Williams, is the second Welsh athlete to be forced out of the Games over an alleged doping offence after 800m runner Gareth Warburton was withdrawn nine days ago.

 

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