Gymnast Hamish Carter dressed for success in his first kilt

Even just getting kitted out for the Commonwealth Games, Hamish Carter made his mum proud.

He was born in Nottingham but 
gymnast Hamish Carter can't wait to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Picture: Jeff Holmes
He was born in Nottingham but gymnast Hamish Carter can't wait to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Picture: Jeff Holmes

Born in Nottingham, the 19-year-old gymnast qualifies for Team Scotland through his maternal family, who are from Hawick, in the Scottish Borders, and while medals are obviously the primary target on the Gold Coast, before he even stepped on a plane there was another important moment to be treasured.

“My mum always said to me that I could compete for Scotland, and how she would love to see me in a kilt. So now I am. My mum has always had an influence in the family. Burns night is a big deal in the family. I get haggis – and I love it as well.

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“I have lived in Nottingham all my life really but my mum’s side of the family are from Hawick. They have always wanted to see me in a kilt. I am sure my relatives and friends are going to be thrilled now that I have finally got one. My mum was sizing me up and got very excited about it.”

But while he insists he is a true Scotsman, despite the accent, he says he will take advice from the more experienced guys around him before deciding whether he will demonstrate that through the medium of underwear or lack of! “I will definitely be taking my lead on that from the team captain! Whatever he decides…”

The Scottish links have been there his entire life, and while he has plenty of great memories of trips north of the border, the transition into the Scottish team has probably felt quicker than the long road trips he used to endure to see the family. “I used to go up there a lot. My mum and dad used to have a flat in Hawick so they used to drive up but I was really young and I wasn’t a fan of the car journeys. We have a huge family connection.”

While he is honest enough to admit that the strength in depth of the 
English team made his decision easier when picking a Commonwealth team, those family loyalties also played their part.

“It was only last year, having sat down with my parents and my coaches, that I made the decision. That was when I decided to take the eligibility from my mum’s side,” he said, adding that his mum, dad and brother will all be in Australia to watch him when competition gets underway tomorrow. “I had competed in the UK games for England but at that time I wasn’t really clued up into how to go about competing for what country.

“It was my decision. It wasn’t like I was torn, it was a happy decision I was able to make. The England team was looking very strong, it was just after the Olympics, everyone was going for it, and no-one wants to miss out on the Commonwealth Games. I still had to qualify, though, nothing was certain. I still had a lot of pressure. Every competition I had to perform well in.”

In October he performed at the Northern Europeans and walked away with two golds, a silver and a bronze, and has followed that up with solid performances at the Scottish Championships to justify his selection and with less than 24 hours to go, he is hoping that can translate into a Commonwealth Games debut that will help the country maintain the standards set in Glasgow. There the gymnasts weighed in with five medals, including a team silver. Current team-mate Dan Purvis contributed with gold on the parallel bars and a bronze on the rings.

Emulating that kind of return would be a dream come true for Carter. “The team firstly is the priority, we have a silver medal to defend and we will be doing everything we can to do that. We will be competing with people like Dan who is an Olympic medallist. And on top of that individual finals would be a bonus. I would hopefully look to make the floor final, with the floor and high bar my favourite disciplines, but the team is the main focus.”

Well that, and getting a good photo of himself in a kilt for his mum.