SCOTLAND can look forward to a tremendous year of sport in 2014, according to sportscotland chair Louise Martin, with the Sochi Winter Games, Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles all on the horizon.
In an end-of-year message released last night, Martin reflected on a stellar 2013 – topped by Andy Murray’s memorable win at Wimbledon – and promised that the teams in place to deliver a successful 2014 were determined to make the new year one to remember.
Martin said: “2013 was another incredible year of sport as Andy Murray won the men’s singles at Wimbledon, Ryan Mania set the racing world alive with his stunning win at the Grand National, and we celebrated World and European champions galore across a wide range of other sports, including curling, showjumping and boxing. Now it is time to look forward, with great anticipation, to what lies ahead in 2014.
“We have the excitement of a winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi to look forward to, with real medal prospects for the Scots on Team GB and ParalympicsGB. Our curling teams are riding high in the world rankings and the women will enter the competition as reigning world champions. This brings its own pressure of course, but with a strong support team behind them from the sportscotland institute of sport, they will have all the tools they need to deliver when the time comes.
“And then it will be full steam ahead until we welcome the Commonwealth of Nations to Scotland.
“I can scarcely believe that six years have passed since Mike Fennell, then President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, announced that the 2014 Games would be coming to Glasgow.
“The hairs on the back of my neck still stand up just thinking about that moment and I know it will be no different when the first athletes walk onto Celtic Park for the opening ceremony on 23 July.
“Scotland is one of only six countries to have competed at every Commonwealth Games since their inception in 1930 and we have won medals at every one. In 2014, the target set by Commonwealth Games Scotland is to better the record medal haul of 33 won at Melbourne in 2006.
“But 2014 is not all about performance sport, far from it. Scotland’s schools, clubs, and communities have an essential role to play and are very much at the heart of sportscotland’s plans.
“For the Ryder Cup, too, we are harnessing the power of a major sporting event to inspire and encourage more people to make sport a part of their lives. A key element of the winning bid for the Ryder Cup was the Scottish Government’s pledge to give every nine-year-old in Scotland the opportunity to try golf.
“The programme has gone from strength to strength providing more opportunities for young people to become involved and creating links between school and clubs to encourage development within the sport. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if, in years to come, a Scottish Ryder Cup player could say that ClubGolf was the springboard for his success?
“2014 truly will be a momentous year for Scotland and Scottish sport. We can’t wait!”