Team GB may be a sore subject when it comes to men’s football but for one University of Stirling student, the mention of it fills him with pride.
Aberdonian Kyle Macaulay, studying Film, Media and Journalism at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence is celebrating winning a silver medal, secured while representing Great Britain at the World University Games in China yesterday (Monday 22 August, 2011).
Macaulay was one of five Scottish students in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Great Britain team which defeated Ghana, Canada, South Korea and then Brazil on penalties en route to the final.
Midfielder Macaulay netted during the semi-final shootout, but was unable to prevent a strong Japanese side from clinching the gold medal with a 2-0 win in front of around 30,000 supporters at the Shenzhen Stadium.
Still, a silver medal exceeded expectations for the men’s team, who had not won a football medal in 20 years.
The 25-year-old scored the goal which sealed the British Universities Premier North title for the University of Stirling, which runs a football scholarship programme supporting talented players to train like professionals and complete a degree.
“Our target was to get a medal and we’ve achieved that and being on the podium and receiving the silver, we’re proud of what we’ve done,” said Macaulay, whose former professional clubs include Aberdeen and Alloa Athletic.
“We always hoped we would do well, we set high targets. We got together in Sweden to prepare and group dynamic and friendships developed quickly and tactically we showed improvements that were unbelievable in such a short space of time. To surpass what any Great Britain team has done in Asia and in this competition in general it’s fantastic.
“I’m so glad to have been here. It was quite a night in front of a big crowd, something as a semi-professional or University football player, you don’t get that kind of opportunity a lot. It’s a huge spectacle and something that anyone who is involved in sport I’m sure would love to be a part of.”
Five other Stirling students were selected for Great Britain at the Games, which finishes today. Swimmer Lewis Smith, from Edinburgh raced in four events over the 12 days of competition, his best performance a commendable fifth place in the 400m Individual Medley.
Leading amateur golfer Kelsey MacDonald, from Nairn, led the all-Scottish Team GB heading into the fourth and final round at Mission Hills Golf Club, sitting 14th overall, but a disappointing final 18 holes left her 30th. The team finished 13th overall.
And in women’s football, a trio of players from the University-based Scottish FA National Women’s Football Academy were part of the British team which finished ninth overall.
Goalkeepers Jo Hutcheson, from Aberdeen and Khym Ramsay, from Dalry, shared the duties between the sticks, while midfielder Kimberley Thomson, from Perth, featured in all six matches, including wins over South Africa and Estonia as well as a thrilling clash with hosts China.
Smith, MacDonald and the women’s footballers receive scholarships from the University and are further supported in their sporting pursuits through national student sports scholarships Winning Students.
In total, 10 students from the Winning Students programme featured at the biennial event, with further notable performances in the individual golf and badminton events.
Team GB were sitting 29th in the medal table with one days’ competition left having earned five medals, including two gold in athletics and swimming.