Commonwealth Games: Opening three days a success for Scotland as Ross Murdoch and Judokas take centre stage


  By Sean Martin
In the opening three days of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Team Scotland has garnered 25 medals in sports as varied as swimming, lawn bowls and judo.
With 11 gold medals, six silvers and eight bronze, the Scottish athletes who have competed so far sit third in the overall medal standings behind Australia and England.

The main poster boy for the event, Olympic silver medallist Michael Jamieson, may have fallen short in his main event but a new star has emerged from his shadow in 20-year-old Ross Murdoch.

In perhaps the biggest surprise of the games so far, Alexandria-born Murdoch took the gold in the 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:07.30 – faster than Jamieson has ever recorded competitively.

By doing so, Murdoch set not only a personal best, but a British and Commonwealth record in the process. He went on to add a bronze in the 100m event.

If Jamieson was the emblematic poster boy for the games, then the female equivalent was surely Hannah Miley.

The 24-year-old fared far better than her teammate in the opening days, as she successfully defended her 2010 title and set a Commonwealth Games record time of 4:31.76 in the 400m individual medley. Edinburgh native Daniel Wallace also took gold in the male version of the same event.

Miley narrowly missed out on adding a bronze to her medal haul in the 200m breaststroke, despite going into the final as somewhat of an outsider. Corrie Scott did manage to add a bronze to the Scottish cause – in the 50m event.

Despite considerable success in the pool, the Scottish team have simply excelled in judo.

The Renicks sisters, Kimberley and Louise, both took gold in their respective categories, while more first place awards arrived in the form of Sarah Clark, Christopher Sherrington, Sarah Adlington and opening ceremony flag bearer Euan Burton.

Five bronze medals and two silvers, from Stephanie Inglis and Matthew Purssey respectively, mean over half of the Scotland squad’s medals have come from judokas.

With two gold medals to his name, track cyclist Neil Fachie is, so far, the single most successful Scottish athlete of the opening stages. The 30-year-old from Aberdeen won both the sprint b2 tandem and the 1000m time trial b2 tandem.

In boxing, 2010 lightweight silver medallist Josh Taylor qualified for the round of 16 in his new division of light-welterweight with a 3-0 win over Kagiso Bagwasi of Bostwana. Super-heavyweight Ross Henderson, meanwhile, is already in the quarter-final of the super-heavyweight division, where he will face England’s Joseph Joyce.

The Scottish team also gained medals in lawn bowls and shooting, leaving them in an advantageous position after the opening three days, albeit trailing Australia and England.

With big names and other medal hopefuls such as Eilidh Child yet to compete, the Scottish team and public alike can legitimately expect more medals at their so far successful home games.