Scotland’s beach volleyball teams made Commonwealth Games history beneath the baking midday sun on Coolangatta Beachfront with a winning double on the sport’s Games debut.
Robin Miedzybrodzki and Seain Cook beat Sri Lankan pair Asanka Pradeep and Sashimal Yappa 16-14 in a thrilling final set while volunteers fired water pistols of cold water into the baking grandstands during breaks in play.
It was a far cry from Portobello beach, where the Scottish team have done the bulk of their training in the lead up to the Games.
“We call ourselves the ‘Amadans’ [a Gaelic expression for fool or idiot] when we’re out there in the cold,” said Miedzybrodzki . “There have been plenty of times on Portobello when the wind takes the game away from you but nothing prepared us for the ‘Beast from the East’.
“We were training at the barn in the early morning and we were digging the cars out of the snow just to get along the road. The farmer had to come along and he used his tractor to help us. But we got to that barn and we trained.”
Lynne Beattie and Melissa Coutts also won their opening match in the women’s round-robin section with a 21-8 21-11 victory over Grenada.
Beattie competed for Great Britain in indoor volleyball at the London 2012 Olympics before switching codes following beach volleyball’s introduction into the Commonwealth Games as part of the Gold Coast host bid.
The sport’s inclusion in the Games has led to a steady increase in the numbers also prepared to defy the elements to pursue the sport in Scotland. A Scottish Bear Tour has been established with stops at venues like Troon and Broughty Ferry.
“I wouldn’t say I ever regretted my decision but it can be very challenging to get up at six o’clock in the morning to go down the beach when you know that it is going to be rainy and windy and cold,” said Beattie.
“But days like this are what you train for and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It feels like we’ve never trained in the cold and wind and rain. All that hard work is worth it when you come here and win your first game.”