Glasgow 2014: Scotland’s biggest city makes gains

Scotland's biggest city has gained great facilities and a place on the sporting map by hosting the Game. Picture: Alistair Devine/Stuart Gray
Scotland's biggest city has gained great facilities and a place on the sporting map by hosting the Game. Picture: Alistair Devine/Stuart Gray
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HOSTING the Commonwealth Games is fantastic recognition for Glasgow. It means a lot. It will put the city on the international sporting map.

In fact, it already has. Glasgow has secured international sporting events for the next five years – so it’s already having a beneficial impact and we haven’t even had the Games yet.It will bring thousands of people to the city and they will be able to see some world class sporting events – 17 of them. The atmosphere will be fantastic. The Games will showcase all that is good about Glasgow, in particular the friendliness of the people.

For kids aspiring to be top class sportspeople, this is a wonderful event. With all the new facilities Glasgow has, it can attract more youngsters to sport. In fact, it’s not just youngsters who will benefit. The people of Glasgow now have the chance to use some of the best facilities in sport, such as the velodrome and the indoor track. It’s a huge bonus for the people of the city and hopefully it will make people more aware of their fitness and their health.

Hosting an event like this can be inspirational for youngsters. I was a volunteer at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh and it allowed me to see close up how focused and dedicated the athletes were. It was a fantastic insight into how committed athletes are at the top level.

The Commonwealth Games are special because it is the only occasion when our athletes can compete on the world stage as Scotland. And it is the same for the other home nations. We Scots are a very passionate and committed people and it adds something a little extra when we are competing for Scotland, especially this time when it is a home games.

Any Scot who wins a gold on the track will be remembered for a long, long time.

As a volunteer in 1970 I was lucky enough to see Ian Stewart, Lachie Stewart and Rosemary Stirling all win gold on the track at Meadowbank. Those at the stadium who witnessed the victories will still have those fantastic memories.

The atmosphere for the athletics at the Glasgow games will be amazing because you will get the Hampden roar.

The Scotland track and field team is young, and perhaps it will be at the next Games that they will win many more medals but there are a number of races that really excite me.

I’m looking forward to seeing Lynsey Sharp in the 800m, Laura Muir in the 1500m and Eilidh Child in the 400m hurdles. In the men’s events the 1500m, featuring Chris O’Hare, is a standout. The relays will also be exciting, particularly – from a Scottish perspective – the women’s races.

The Commonwealth Games can be such an important platform. If you have a good Commonwealth Games, suddenly you are seen as a successful international athlete.

For me, my performance at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton was a platform from which to go on and enjoy Olympic success two years later in Moscow. I’m looking forward immensely to the Games and I’m really delighted to be involved as an ambassador for Glasgow 2014. I was really pleased to be asked.

I think the Games will be a great success. All the different bodies have come together and they will make it a success. I’m talking about Glasgow 2014, the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland, Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Government and the Commonwealth Games Federation. Its success can be similar to that of London 2012, albeit on a smaller scale.

My proudest Commonwealth Games moment was being presented with my first gold medal on the rostrum after winning the 200m in Edmonton in 1978. I was very proud to be standing there with the Scottish flag behind me.

Mind you, I wasn’t so enamoured by the anthem. They seemed to be playing Scotland the Brave at twice the normal speed. I felt like I should be dancing!

Winning that gold was very, very special. I wanted to share the moment with everyone who had helped me achieve it. I didn’t see it coming but I won it through determination and dedication, qualities that can stand all our athletes in good stead in Glasgow over the next two weeks.