Aiming to Achieve in 2014 - Two Talented Riders Unveilled
Article by Katriona Bush, Head of Media & PR Commonwealth Games Scotland
Commonwealth Games Scotland and Glasgow 2014 have announced the names of 30 up and coming, talented athletes who are the potential Scottish sports stars of Glasgow 2014 in four years time.
The 30 athletes, 16 coaches and 10 mentors who have been selected for the Achieve 2014 programme, a new initiative designed specifically to enhance the winning opportunities of Scottish athletes and coaches on the world stage. The line up includes two young riders, Eilidh Wells and Robbie Hassan. The programme has been created to offer a number of talented athletes and coaches from the sports on the Glasgow 2014 programme, the opportunity to gain critical knowledge and experience of a senior multi-sport environment to assist their own preparations for success in Glasgow and beyond.
The athletes selected range from 15-28 years old and include Scottish and British junior and age group champions as well as a number of juniors starting to compete successfully in senior international competition. A few athletes just missed out on selection for Delhi 2010 but have clearly demonstrated the potential for future success.
The project will cost up to £144,000 and includes funding from Commonwealth Games Scotland and an award of £20,000 from sportscotland. The national agency for sport is also providing expertise to support the programme, with Commonwealth Games gold medallist, World Champion and Olympian in Judo, Graeme Randall MBE appointed as the Achieve 2014 Director. A number of other staff members have been appointed as mentors.
Post Games studies and reports on athlete success at multi-sport Games have consistently highlighted that the environment experienced is significantly different to that which most athletes and staff encounter at their own single sport championships. Whilst sending development athletes to the Games in the past has often proved to be a negative experience, with athletes unprepared for the big step-up. Raising the Games selections standards has helped improve results over the last two Games, with young athletes now getting a less pressured initial multi-sport experience via the successful Commonwealth Youth Games established by Scotland in 2000. The Achieve 2014 programmes now builds on this concept as a bridge to a full Games experience.
Achieve 2014 will offer the athletes and coaches announced today, the opportunity to travel to the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games for a five day learning experience. Each team member will observe their own or similar sport in competition as well as visit the Games Village to see how their Team Scotland counterparts live and train. They will complete specific learning tasks, daily event logs and, upon return, complete a brief report on their personal experiences throughout the whole event.
Assigned to each Achieve 2014 team member will be an athlete or coach mentor, who will work closely with them prior to, during and after the 2010 Games to ensure the time spent in Delhi is utilised to achieve a robust, performance related outcome. Amongst the mentors named today are 2006 Commonwealth Gold medallist shooter Susan Jackson, two time medallist in badminton Elinor Midlemiss and former hammer thrower, Shirley Webb who is also a member of the Glasgow 2014 Athletes' Commission.
Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland said:
"As we mark four years to go to the start of the 2014 Games I am absolutely delighted to announce our Achieve 2014 team who will get a taste of things to come in Delhi this year.As we have known for many years, some athletes rise to the big multi-sport occasion whilst others are overwhelmed by it and in 2014 competing on home soil will bring huge opportunities but also additional pressures. Investing in our future talented athletes and coaches is money well spent to help ensure that our athletes have the best preparation possible and can compete with distinction in 2014 and beyond."
Graeme and his team of mentors are confident that the exciting young talent they have to work with will benefit hugely from the experience.
Graeme Randall MBE said:
"It is great to see the programme coming to life now we have selected our team. Different sports have chosen to use the programme in different ways depending on their stage of development, with some sports only nominating athletes whilst others have just selected coaches and some both. However they are all looking for the same outcome - to enhance their chances of success in Glasgow."
Glasgow 2014 Chief Executive John Scott said:
"Glasgow has Four Years to Go until the Opening Ceremony at Celtic Park, and it's fantastic to see these up and coming athletes getting the experience and support they need to achieve their Personal Best on home soil. Naming these athletes, mentors and coaches today has underlined our approach to delivering an outstanding Games in 2014 - and keeping them athlete centred and sport focused. I am looking forward to seeing these athletes at work in Delhi, and hearing about their learning experiences over the next Four Years as part of the Achieve 2014 programme."
Minister for Public Health and Sport Shona Robison said:
"Glasgow 2014 is no longer a distant prospect, the venues and infrastructure are rising from the ground here in Glasgow and all across Scotland people are getting involved and feeling the excitement that the Games will bring. As part of this the Scottish Government's Games legacy plan aims to inspire everyone in Scotland to get involved and take advantage of this unique opportunity to become a healthier nation. This key landmark on the countdown to 2014 will help to encourage people to make lasting lifestyle changes which will improve their health and make Scotland an Active Nation. The young athletes of the future announced today as members of the Achieve 2014 programme symbolise our ambition and optimism for the Games. They have a huge opportunity to be part of the Scottish team competing at a major event. I hope that their experience at Delhi 2010 will inspire them and other aspiring Scottish athletes to excel in their chosen events and contribute to future Scottish sporting success."
It is intended that the programme will run again in 2012 with athletes attending the London Olympic Games and then for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Click here to download the full listing of selected athletes.