Golden day for Scot­land on su­per Sun­day at the Games

● Team Scot­land take eight medals at Gold Coast

The Scotsman - - Front Page - By MARTYN MCLAUGH­LIN

Scot­land saw a huge dou­ble gold cel­e­bra­tion at the Com­mon­wealth Games in Bris­bane yes­ter­day. Swim­mer Dun­can Scott re­acted with de­light af­ter a stun­ning vic­tory in the 100m freestyle, while cy­clist Mark Ste­wart won the men’s points race

Scot­tish ath­letes en­joyed a su­per Sun­day at the Com­mon­wealth Games, se­cur­ing a fur­ther eight medals and smash­ing yet more records.

Swim­mer Dun­can Scott be­came the most dec­o­rated Scot­tish com­peti­tor at a sin­gle Games af­ter tak­ing his medal tally in Aus­tralia to five.

In a ma­jor up­set, the 20-yearold from Al­loa came from be­hind in the 100m freestyle to beat South Africa’s Chad le Clos and Aus­tralia’s Kyle Chalmers – the reign­ing Olympic cham­pion.

Scott went on to win bronze with the 4x200m freestyle re­lay team, adding to the three bronzes he had al­ready taken at the Games.

The phe­nom­e­nal per­for­mance means the young­ster has sur­passed fel­low swim­mer Gre­gor Tait, who won two golds and two bronzes in Mel­bourne in 2006, as the most suc­cess­ful ever Scot­tish ath­lete at a sin­gle Games – and Scott still has two events to go in the Gold Coast.

A dou­ble sil­ver medal­list at the Rio Olympics, Scott is widely tipped to be a star of Team GB at the Tokyo Games, and he ex­pressed de­light yes­ter­day af­ter his defin­ing vic­tory in front of his loved ones.

“I did what I do best in bring­ing it home,” he said. “I’m ab­so­lutely de­lighted my fam­ily’s here. It’s a dream for me for them to see that. I’m so happy.

“I’m buzzing and try­ing to swim my best. So far, so good. It’s very ex­cit­ing for two years’ time af­ter beat­ing the Olympic cham­pion. I’m de­lighted to swim that fast.”

Scott’s glit­ter­ing haul en­sured Scot­land moved up to fifth place in the ta­ble with 23 medals, putting the na­tion firmly on course for its most suc­cess­ful over­seas Games ever, with seven days still to go.

The Scot­tish record of 29 was achieved at the Mel­bourne Games 12 years ago.

On what was Team Scot­land’s best day so far in the Gold Coast, Mark Ste­wart se­cured gold in the velo­drome

“I did what i do best in bring­ing it home. I’m ab­so­lutely de­lighted my fam­ily’s here. It’s a dream for me for them to see that. I’m so happy.” SWIM­MER DUN­CAN SCOTT

af­ter win­ning the men’s point race, a re­sult which put Scot­land in sec­ond place in the cy­cling medal ta­ble, be­hind only the host na­tion.

The 22-year-old adopted an ag­gres­sive strat­egy, quickly gain­ing three laps on his com­peti­tors to build a size­able lead he never looked like los­ing.

Af­ter the race, which saw him beat five-time world cham­pion Cameron Meyer, Ste­wart said: “I’m re­ally proud. That was a lot of hard work and it’s come to­gether nicely. I’m only 22 but I feel like I’ve been at this for ages. There’s been a lot of good days and a lot of bad days. This is up there with the good days.”

Scot­land’s other gold of the day was gained in the lawn bowls, where Dar­ren Bur­nett, Derek Oliver and Ron­ald Dun­can turned the ta­bles on Aus­tralia, com­ing from 14-13 down to win 19-14 in the men’s triple fi­nal. Bur­nett de­scribed win­ning gold as “the great­est feel­ing in the world,” adding: “We beat the Aussies in their back­yard. I knew it was up to me to de­liver one or two big ones.”

Cy­clist Neah Evans won sil­ver in the women’s 10km scratch race, while Cal­lum Skin­ner de­fied ill­ness to take bronze in the men’s 1,000m time trial.

Else­where, Mark Dry won bronze in the men’s ham­mer throw af­ter what he de­scribed as “the best throw of my ca­reer,” with gym­nast Daniel Purvis tak­ing home a medal of the same colour in the men’s floor fi­nal.

It’s not al­ways easy be­ing a Scot­tish sport en­thu­si­ast. More of­ten than not our na­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tives are per­fectly de­signed for the roles of plucky, but doomed, un­der­dogs.

So when Scots start win­ning, the plea­sure is all the greater. Scot­tish ath­letes are cur­rently cut­ting a swathe through the com­pe­ti­tion at the Com­mon­wealth games, with some fan­tas­tic per­for­mances.

Yes­ter­day, Dun­can Scott left he com­pe­ti­tion in his wake, tak­ing swim­ming gold in the 100 me­tres freestyle, while Mark Ste­wart brought cy­cling events at the velo­drome to a thrilling con­clu­sion with a vic­tory in the points race.

There was an­other gold, in bowls, and bronzes in gym­nas­tics and ham­mer throw­ing as day four of the Games turned into some­thing of a su­per Sun­day for Scot­land.

Re­cent years have seen some Scots break through to dom­i­nate their sports. Cy­clist Sir Chris Hoy and ten­nis star Sir Andy Mur­ray are just two who’ve helped end Scot­land’s rep­u­ta­tion as per­pet­ual losers.

And, just as Sirs Chris and Andy in­spired oth­ers who fol­lowed in their footsteps, those mak­ing their mark in Aus­tralia are ex­am­ples of how tal­ent and hard work can com­bine to cre­ate stun­ning suc­cess.

The vic­to­ries of Scots ath­letes Down Un­der are not sim­ply in­di­vid­ual plea­sures to be savoured, they are an ex­am­ple to a na­tion that all too of­ten makes head­lines be­cause of the poor health of its peo­ple.

While Scot­land spent decades de­vel­op­ing a rep­u­ta­tion as a hard­drink­ing, chain-smok­ing, fat­de­vour­ing na­tion, other coun­tries pro­duced a string of sport­ing heroes. But, just maybe, Scot­land is start­ing to shape up. We should cer­tainly pro­ceed as if this is so.

The late Margo Macdon­ald MSP was a doughty cam­paigner for greater phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion in schools. She be­lieved that an ap­petite for ex­er­cise ac­quired in child­hood would last a – much-pro­longed – life­time. We would rather like to see a cur­rent MSP take up this par­tic­u­lar cause.

Scots may be drink­ing and smok­ing less than we once did but obe­sity rates con­tinue to rise. The an­swer surely lies – in part, at least – in en­cour­ag­ing chil­dren to ex­er­cise more. The sto­ries of Dun­can Scott and Mark Ste­wart (and many oth­ers) should be told in class­rooms across Scot­land and young­sters who feel in­spired by them should be able to count on the re­sources and sup­port they need to fol­low their own dreams.

PIC­TURES: GETTY IMAGES; AP

0 Dun­can Scott shows off his gold medal for the 100m freestyle. Top right, the men’s triple team cel­e­brate their bowls vic­tory. Above, cy­clist Neah Evans, who won a sil­ver medal

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