By Josh Graham at Sutton Park, Birmingham
Brilliant Beth Potter revealed support from English triathlon legend Alistair Brownlee helped make it third time lucky for her at the Commonwealth Games after winning Scotland’s first medal with bronze in Birmingham.
Potter was the surprise leader out of the water at Sutton Park before dropping down to fourth after the bike, but she overtook England’s Sophie Coldwell to finally claim a medal on her third Games appearance.
Glasgow’s Potter ran the 10,000m for Team GB at Rio 2016 but committed to triathlon by moving to Leeds the following year and said training alongside the legendary Brownlee brothers and taking 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Alistair’s advice on the bike propelled her onto the podium.
“It’s good, I’m happy. It’s my third Games, so third time lucky,” said Potter, who is one of over 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science, and medical support.
“Both Alistair and Jonny have been great since I moved to Leeds. I wouldn’t be where I am without their support.
“Al helps me with my biking, and I do a lot of training with them. Sophie [Coldwell] did try and attack me quite a few times and I just made sure I was aware of when it would happen. That’s helped from riding with all the cyclists in Leeds this year.
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“Just being able to do it on the day and show that I can deal with the pressure is great.”
Potter was reeled in on the bike by the chasing pack and missed out on the attack led by eventual gold medallist Flora Duffy of Bermuda and England’s runner-up Georgia Taylor-Brown.
However, she kept calm and managed to stay in touch ahead of the sprint format’s 5km run, safe in the knowledge that she ran the second fastest road time ever over that distance in 2021.
Potter clocked 16:53 for her final leg on the opening day of Commonwealth Games action, but it was not enough to close the gap on the frontrunners as she finished 40 seconds behind Taylor-Brown.
She added: “I knew I’d be up there in the swim, but I didn’t expect to lead it out. I knew that the bike was going to be key because I knew the girls were going to attack me as they didn’t want me on the run.
“I probably just missed the attack with Flora a little bit, a second or two too slow on that one.
“I’ve got the relay on Sunday and then I’m definitely going to take a bit of down time, just a couple of days maybe back in Glasgow.”
Potter is no stranger to feeling the benefit of a supportive crowd having finished fifth in the 10,000m at Glasgow 2014, her previous best, and despite representing Scotland on English soil, said she felt the full force of the British support.
Potter explained: “I had Glasgow 2014 and the world champs in London in 2017. I’m so lucky and fortunate to have another home Games.
“The crowds were amazing, and I really felt the love even though I’m from Scotland! It was just as loud for us."
Potter had an army of friends and family in attendance to cheer her on, including her mum’s dog Harry while dad Alex repurposed his slogan of support from eight years ago.
She said: “It’s a great atmosphere and I’ve got a lot of family and friends here. My dog is watching at home, but my mum’s dog is here.
“There was a ball that rolled out on the run at some point, and I thought that better not be Harry’s!
“Everyone has come along, and I saw my dad when he was running down, he’s got his Scotland football shirt with ‘Go Beth!’ across the front that he’s had since 2014 and still got it!
“I saw my aunt on the course, but I haven’t seen anyone else yet but can’t wait to catch up with them, I’m buzzing.”
Former physics teacher Potter has been a force of her own this year, recording successive World Series podiums with bronze in Montreal and silver in Hamburg.
Fifth in Leeds last month marked her best effort there and she credited a combination of hard work and National Lottery funding for helping power her impressive performances.
She said: “I was put on National Lottery funding this past year, it’s great to have the support and to move up a level this year has been in the plan and the work I put in this winter has paid off.”
National Lottery players raise more than £30million a week for good causes including vital funding into sport – from grassroots to elite. Find out how your numbers make amazing happen at: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes.