Leader: Here’s to the most successful Commonwealth Games ever

Lynsey Sharp prepares to compete in the 800m in Australia
Lynsey Sharp prepares to compete in the 800m in Australia
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Tomorrow Scotland will announce which athlete will carry the flag at Wednesday’s opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.

Whoever stands at the front, Team Scotland will feel the power of those behind because this is the largest and arguably the strongest squad Scotland has ever assembled for an overseas Commonwealth Games.

At Glasgow 2014 we won 53 medals, including 19 gold in an incredible performance lifted by a noisy and partisan home crowd. The target for Australia is to exceed the 29 medals won in Melbourne in 2006 – and this definitely looks possible.

Seven new events for women have been added across the 18-sport programme, meaning that for the first time in history a major multi-sport event will have an equal number of events for men and women. That is reflected in the make-up of Team Scotland, with 93 women part of the team.

Among the strong contenders are Callum Skinner and Katie Archibald in cycling, Hannah Miley in the pool, Callum Hawkins in athletics and Kirsty Gilmour in badminton.

The Friendly Games are special for Scotland in so many ways. They are one of the few opportunities for our athletes to compete under the Scottish flag rather than Team GB, and Scotland is one of only six countries to have competed at every Commonwealth Games since their inception in 1930.

The past list of Scottish Commonwealth Games champions reads like a who’s who of Scotland’s sporting greats, including boxer Dick McTaggart, runner Liz McColgan, swimmer David Wilkie, sprinter Allan Wells, shooter Alister Allan and cyclist Chris Hoy.

In Glasgow, Scottish fans were able to cheer their team from the sidelines, this time around it will be through the TV, computer or radio. The time difference doesn’t make it easy to follow live, but after years of preparation our athletes deserve every ounce of positive support from Scots around the world. Here’s to the most successful Games ever.