One year to go: Inside Team Scotland’s Gold Coast resort

The Novotel Twin Waters resort. Picture: Fiona Laing
The Novotel Twin Waters resort. Picture: Fiona Laing
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In a year’s time, Team Scotland will be focused on the opening of the Commonwealth Games in the Australian Gold Coast.

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Surf Beach at dawn on the Sunshine Coast. Picture: Fiona Laing

Surf Beach at dawn on the Sunshine Coast. Picture: Fiona Laing

The athletes will have spent up to three weeks in their training camp on the nearby Sunshine Coast.

There they will get a taste of the easy-going Australian lifestyle alongside preparation time in a well thought-out training set-up.

Yesterday, as the dawn broke over Mudjimba beach, there were dog walkers and joggers pacing beside the breaking waves. At 6am, with a sharp, post Cyclone Debbie breeze, it was shirt sleeve order and couldn’t have been more the Aussie dream - the sun, the surf and a far-off horizon.

Team Scotland will be based at the Novotel Twin Waters, a family holiday resort built around a lagoon and just few metres inland from the stunning 30km “Surf Beach” as the hotel terms it.

Nathan Gordon, Manager of Sport at University of Sunshine Coast. Picture: Fiona Laing

Nathan Gordon, Manager of Sport at University of Sunshine Coast. Picture: Fiona Laing

The resort sleeps about 600 people, so the 300 or so of our athletes will not be isolated and if another team uses it as a base, there will still be plenty of space in the large estate.

The rooms are in two-storey blocks and Stuart Turner, head of Event Scotland who will manage the pre-Games training base, hopes to turn a corner of the resort into a Team Scotland HQ, with flags and marquees.

“To create that team spirit,” he explained when we spoke about it last week.

“The rooms are probably more luxurious than athletes will usually get – or will get in the Games village,” he added.

He is right – the rooms are family rooms, with balconies or terraces, some have kitchen areas. And what they will really experience at the Twin Waters is a warm welcome. The staff are used to hosting sporting groups – a netball team were staying last week and yesterday morning I watched a school rugby squad being put through their paces on the resort’s own sports field.

Alongside the Twin Waters’ recreational facilities – think kayaks, ping pong, swimming pool and aquapark, as well as that beach - Team Scotland will use the facilities at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).

This is an up-and-coming sports faculty. None of the facilities are more than a few years old and they all located next to each other.

The Scottish athletes should find the track particularly appealing as it is the only Tartan track on the Sunshine Coast – and, resurfaced just last year, it’s IAFF certified.

The three multi-purpose courts in the indoor stadium are impressive and yesterday they were clearing up after the local pro netball team’s weekend victory cheered on by 2,000 spectators.

There is also a well-equipped gym, a 50m outdoor swimming pool kept at 27.5 degrees and USC is about to build an indoor pool.

“It will have a high performance gym and hot and cold recovery pools,” said Nathan Gordon, the USC sports manager as he showed me round yesterday morning.“Our researchers here at USC are telling us that contrast immersion – so a bit of warm and a bit of cold – is the best for athlete recovery.”

These facilities are an important part of Stuart Turner’s plans. “We will be setting up a rehabilitation centre at the university to help people through that last training - any niggles or tweaks they get, they can be treated straight away.

“The facilities at the university are fantastic.”

With USC about 20 minutes’ drive from the Twin Rivers, it seems to be an ideal combination for the pre-Games build-up and a good contrast to the high-rise energy of the Gold Coast the athletes will experience when they take the three-hour drive to their 2018 Games.