Christie and McLean capture medals for Scotland at Commonwealth Games

·3 min read
Christie and McLean capture medals for Scotland at Commonwealth Games

Louise Christie's shock silver secured Scotland's first rhythmic gymnastics medal at the Commonwealth Games in nearly three decades.

Joanne Walker was the last to reach the podium when she won scooped bronze in Victoria and a disbelieving Christie followed her lead in the ribbon event.

The 21-year-old Aberdonian – also the first Scottish women to compete in an apparatus event since 1994 - executed a sensational routine and held the lead till the very last competitor, when Malaysia's Joe Ee Ng snatched the gold away.

“That wait felt like a lifetime," said Christie, who trains at Beacon Rhythmic Gymnastics in Aberdeen and was watched by a loud cheering squad from home at Arena Birmingham.

“It just feels amazing, it’s going to take a long time to sink in, but I have a medal around my neck.

“I was a bit disappointed with ribbon over the past couple of days as I knew that I could do a lot better than I did in qualifying.

“I just went out there and left it all out on the floor. I deliberately choose an upbeat routine because I wanted to enjoy it and feed off the crowd.”

This summer, Team Scotland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, compromises of over 250 athletes, all vying for medal success.

There was also success in the bowls as, Iain McLean took bronze in the men’s singles to wrap up the Games in Leamington Spa.

McLean was one of the favourites for the title heading into the Games but lost in the semi-finals to eventual champion Aaron Wilson.

But the 38-year-old bounced back to claim a comfortable win against Malaysia’s Fairul Izwan Abd Muin to earn his first Commonwealth medal on his debut Games.

It feels great,” said McLean. “It was a tough game earlier in the day to get over and come back out again.

“I’m delighted to play well in the bronze game and bag a medal.

“I took a lot of confidence from my games earlier in the week.

“I had a blip this morning, didn’t play well, but put it out my mind, remembered the good things that have happened during the week and concentrated on them.”

It was a stacked field in the men’s singles, with defending champion Aaron Wilson once more taking gold.

McLean was the bookies’ favourite ahead of the Games but revealed he did not feel any extra pressure.

“It was a nice wee boost, it’s a shot in the arm,” said McLean. “It reflects what the punter, what the supporter believes.

“It’s a tough competition and it proved that I’m just delighted to come through it all.

“It’s been a great experience to play in front of that crowd, it’s right up there for me.

“I came out and looked up and there’s a whole stand there wearing blue or waving blue flags.”

Elsewhere, James Heatly saved his best dive until last, but it was not quite enough for a medal in the men’s 3m springboard, finishing in fourth place as England swept the podium.

The 25-year-old, competing as his third Games, finished with a total of 460.40 to miss out on bronze by just 1.9 points while Ross Beattie came 11th with a score of 365.00.

“I’m actually pretty happy with the performance,” said Heatly. “The scores all increased as the rounds went on and it’s been an extremely tough year, so I’m happy with the fightback.

“I’m just annoyed with the finishing position. Fourth is just a bit tough to swallow but there are more positives than negatives. I was a little shaky at the beginning, it’s always difficult with nerves.

“I definitely get a lot more like myself again in that competition.”

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