Commonwealth Games athletes set for challenge of a lifetime

Cyclist Katie Archibald going to be competing in Commonwealth Games next year. Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.'Photo by Emma Mitchell'24/12/13
Cyclist Katie Archibald going to be competing in Commonwealth Games next year. Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.'Photo by Emma Mitchell'24/12/13

With less than a week to go until the Commonwealth Games, local athletes are gearing up for one of Scotland’s biggest ever sporting events.

Among those taking part from Milngavie and Bearsden are badminton player Imogen Bankier, cyclist Katie Archibald and swimmers Calum Tait and Jack Thorpe.

Photograph by Ian Georgeson, 'Hearts Vs Partick Thistle'Hea: Jamie Walker'Par: Steven Lawless

Photograph by Ian Georgeson, 'Hearts Vs Partick Thistle'Hea: Jamie Walker'Par: Steven Lawless

Bankier (26), from Milngavie, is a former mixed doubles world silver medallist (Wembley 2011) and the most experienced of the group. She is hoping to banish the memory of a disappointing London Olympics and is among one of the best prospects for a podium place. The Scotland squad are seeded fifth overall.

Cyclist Katie Archibald is also flying the flag for Scotland and will lead the 30-strong cycling squad at the Games.

The 20-year-old Milngavie athlete was recently-crowned world team pursuit champion and will represent Scotland in track endurance, time trials and road race.

Archibald is part of the biggest ever cycling group for a Commonwealth Games and a relative newcomer to the sport having only taken up serious competitive cycling three years ago.

She started her racing career on a grass track in the Highlands and has recently competed in the UK Women’s Tour and will join the likes of Eileen Roe and Claire Thomas.

Team Scotland cycling cheif, Jon Doig said the size of the squad offered proof of cycling’s burgeoning appeal in Scotland adding that the sport has always had a strong tradition and gone from strength to strength on the back of the amazing achievements of Sir Chris Hoy and Craig MacLean.

In the pool, 19-year-olds Calum Tait and Jack Thorpe will also be doing their best to clinch some silverware for the host country.

Both athletes are now lifelong members of Milngavie and Bearsden Swimming Club which has produced such swimming greats at Alison Sheppard, who won gold in the 50 metre freestyle at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games.

Tait will be competing in the 200m breast stroke and Thorpe is hoping for glory in the 4x100m freestyle. Thorpe may also compete in the 50 metre freestyle.

Coach Craig Houston said: “It is a long long time since we have had someone swimming at this level. Everyone is behind all the athletes competing at the games, and especially Calum and Jack.”