By Tom Harle, Sportsbeat
Team Scotland are tempering ambitions of an improved medal haul at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
After a traditional home Games leap up to fourth in the medal table and a record tally of 53 medals, 19 gold, Scotland came back down with a bump on the Gold Coast.
They finished seventh in the medal table, behind Wales, with 44 medals, still their second-best all-time performance.
Paul Bush, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, said: “If you look back retrospectively, our strongest team will always be at a home Games.
“We shouldn’t forget how difficult these Games have been in terms of delivering them on time and on budget.
“The pandemic has given real challenges to athletes, coaches, families, in terms of preparing, so to get them to the start line is a great achievement.”
There is plenty of star power in the 260-strong squad headlined by Jake Wightman, Duncan Scott and Laura Muir.
There are 99 returning athletes and 161 making their Games debut.
For the first time there are more women than men on Team Scotland, with 134 female athletes competing and 126 male.
The youngest athlete in the squad is 16-year-old swimmer Sam Downie and the oldest George Millar, 75, a lawn bowler.
Bush said: “We're always excited on the eve of a Game in terms of legacy and impact.
“Obviously there will be an impact in terms of inspiring young people in Scotland to be the next athletes that are competing at 2026 in Victoria and then at 2030.
There’s only 6️⃣ days to go until the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games! #B2022#TNLAthletes from the home nations met up to thank #NationalLottery players for their support and to celebrate the countdown to the Games. 🤞#MakeAmazingHappen [1/2] pic.twitter.com/Bfz6InsQff
— National Lottery Good Causes (@LottoGoodCauses) July 22, 2022
“The Commonwealth games is a unique opportunity for athletes to wear a Scottish vest in a sporting environment that only comes around once every four years.”
All 260 Scottish athletes at the Games have benefitted from the backing of the National Lottery.
Bush said of funding: “The National Lottery has been a game changer for British sport over the years since it was set up in 1996.
“Obviously, Team Scotland athletes and the team behind the team with the officials have benefitted in many ways.
“So without The National Lottery funding you would not see some of our athletes perform on stages such as the Commonwealth games and Olympic games but previously and in the future.”
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.