The opening ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games took place earlier today down on Gold Coast, Australia and Perthshire was well represented as Team Scotland was led into the Carrara Stadium by Kinross hurdler Eilidh Doyle, who became the first Scottish female flag bearer in the Games’ history.
The former Kinross High School pupil and ex-Perth Grammar School PE teacher was the first athlete to enter the stadium as she clutched the saltire, beaming with pride. And the 31-year-old Olympic bronze medallist – who is Scotland’s most decorated track and field athlete – is certainly not the only Perthshire representative Down Under.
In aquatics, swimmers Stephen Milne, Camilla Hattersley and Scott McLay will be hoping they can bring success to Team Scotland when they get their Games underway.
For Milne and Hattersley, it will be their second Commonwealth Games having already competed for Team Scotland at Glasgow 2014. Milne – an Olympic silver and World Championship gold medallist – clinched a silver medal in the pool last time around and will be hoping to get himself on the podium once again.
Camilla finished 7th in the 800m freestyle in 2014 and also represented Great Britain at the Rio Olympics in 2016, and the former Perth Academy pupil will be hoping that experience will serve her well when she enters the pool in Queensland.
For Scott McLay, this will be his first Games as a senior competitor but the former Perth City Swim Club man enjoyed an extremely successful junior career. McLay is Scotland’s most decorated athlete at the Commonwealth Youth Games following his impressive performance in the Bahamas last summer and he’ll be hoping to carry that form into senior level.
And, in what is sure to provide a huge boost to the swimmers, Perth City Swim Club Coach Ann Dickson is also in Australia as part of the Scottish aquatics squad’s coaching set-up.
It’s not just the pool and track where you’ll find Perthshire athletes either. In racket sports, Patrick McHugh (badminton) and Gavin Rumgay (table tennis) will represent Team Scotland with Rumgay appearing at his fourth Games. The Scottish number one has previously represented his country at Manchester 2002, Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014 although the 33-year-old is yet to medal.
Scotland Rugby Sevens star James Fleming is part of a Scotland side with a good chance of doing well in Australia. Former Perthshire Rugby man Fleming missed out on Glasgow 2014 and will be hoping he can play a big part in any medal hopes the Scottish Sevens team has. They’ve been drawn in Pool A for this year’s Game and will have to get past South Africa, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia to progress to the latter stages.
Beach volleyball is another ball sport with links to Perthshire, with former Breadalbane Academy pupil Seain Cook set to take to the sand as the sport makes its Commonwealth Games debut. And in basketball, Bridge of Earn-based referee Chris Dodds has been appointed the representative Referee for Scotland.
There’s plenty of local sportspeople competing, coaching and officiating down under so keep your eyes peeled to the television coverage of the 2018 Commonwealth Games this month to catch a glimpse of them all in action.
Following today’s opening ceremony, the competition gets underway from tomorrow in Australia (tonight UK-time) and runs until Sunday 15th April. We’d like to wish all of our Perthshire athletes and the rest of Team Scotland the very best of luck and look forward to watching them do us all proud on Gold Coast!
The main image for this article was captured by local freelance photographer Fraser Band.
Stephen Milne is swimming for Team Scotland at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia's Gold Coast.
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