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Medal success for Stirling students in Delhi

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Students and graduates from the University of Stirling delivered gold and silver medals for Scotland at the XIX Commonwealth Games.

Some 14 current and former students at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence – including 11 for Team Scotland – showcased their talent in Delhi.

And they turned their training into results, with no fewer than four Stirling students heading home with a medal secured: comprising a gold in tennis and a team silver in swimming.

At the same time, athletes on the Winning Students scholarship programme – governed by the University for athletes studying nationwide – collected a further two gold medals. Combined with the University’s own International Sports Scholarship Programme, Scottish students finished 14th in the medal table.

Top performer was tennis star Colin Fleming, who along with team-mate Joss Rae, collected gold in the tennis mixed doubles. Rae and Fleming, who graduated in 2007 with first class honours in Economics and Finance defeated the Australian top seeds Paul Hanley and Anastasia Rodionova in the final.

The duo were led by Team Scotland Tennis coach Euan McGinn, who is also the University’s Performance Tennis coach. He said: “It was a fantastic performance by both players to win a gold medal for Scotland.

“As a team, we went in with no pressure or expectations which enabled them to play freely and showcase their talent. Colin is a world class doubles player and his success shows how the scholarship programme at Stirling and University tennis more widely, can deliver gold medal champions.”

In swimming, a fresher and a 2010 graduate showed their class to secure a team silver in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay.

Accountancy and Business Studies graduate Andy Hunter, part of the Scotland team who collected a silver medal in the relays in Melbourne, repeated the feat alongside teenager Jak Scott, from Hawick. Scott surprised himself by making the team four years early, having been initially targeting Glasgow for his Commonwealth debut.

The 19-year-old said: “It meant everything to me to win a medal for Scotland. Just making the team was fantastic, let alone to perform how we did. We believed silver was possible as long as we could out-perform England so we raced hard and it all fell into place. Now I’m going to enjoy a well-earned week off then get back to my studies and my training.”

Hunter added: “This win is just as good as in Melbourne, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. The swimmers in Delhi have done well and it’s nice people look to swimming and to the performance training centre at Stirling, knowing we can do well.”

Smith, Scott and Lewis Smith, who raced in the heats and finished eighth in the 400m IM, were supported by a national Winning Students scholarship, as was Robbie Renwick (University of Strathclyde), also part of the relay final team.

Strathclyde  Sports Engineering student Renwick won individual gold in the 200m freestyle while top talent Hannah Miley, from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeenshire, earned gold in her favoured 400m Individual Medley.

Clare Dawson, a postgraduate Psychology student at Stirling, raced for Northern Ireland and narrowly missed out on a medal, finishing 4th in the 4x100m freestyle relay, while English swimmer Ryan Bennett, a second year BSc Sport and Exercise student at Stirling, made the finals of both the 100m and 200m Backstroke.

Two former Stirling scholars took to the squash courts, with Frania Gillen-Buchert reaching the quarter finals of the mixed doubles for Scotland while Kate Cadigan represented her native Jersey.

In hockey, graduate Ailsa Robertson, now working as an Active Schools in Stirling, netted Scotland’s goal in a 1-1 draw against Wales, the Scots eventually securing seventh spot via a penalty shoot-out. Also among the goals during the earlier rounds was Alison Bell, with a brace against Trinidad and Tobago the highlight for the PhD Sports Coaching student.

Stirling’s most experienced representative, badminton player Susan Egelstaff, was competing at her third successive Games, having won an individual bronze in Melbourne and a team bronze in Manchester in 2002. The Psychology and Sports Studies graduate narrowly missed out on another medal, finishing 4th overall.

Other Stirling graduates competing were: Richard Hurren (Pole Vault), Graham Moodie (Hockey) and Stewart Crawford (Table Tennis).

Professor Gerry McCormac, University of Stirling Principal, said: “I am very proud of the University of Stirling students and graduates who contributed to the medal tally of Team Scotland at the Commonwealth Games. Their success in Delhi will be an inspiration for the many sports scholars on our campus for years to come.”

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