David Gourlay

Date: 25/04/2014

David represented Scotland at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia. He is now the coach heading up the national bowls team when Scotland hosts the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

As world number one for seven years, bowls legend David Gourlay travelled the world, securing scores of prominent and prestigious titles.

But for David, no event came greater than the 1998 Commonwealth Games and playing for Team Scotland as the world watched.

He said: "Going from growing up playing bowls in a small Ayrshire mining town to walking out in front of thousands of people as part of the Scottish team is something I'll never forget. Nothing can compare to representing your country on the global stage. It was the highlight of my career."

Hailing from Annbank in South Ayrshire and with both his parents Commonwealth gold medallists in their own right, David was an avid follower of bowls from an early age.

At 12 years old, he took up the sport himself at Annbank Bowling Club and quickly progressed through the ranks winning his first major senior title aged 19:

"Despite their achievements and love of the sport, my parents never pushed me to play bowls, it was always something I wanted to do. It took a bit of time to develop my skills to be of the level where I could compete at a world-class level but to be given that opportunity was incredible.

"My mother Sarah actually competed alongside me when I went to the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia too, it was very special to share something so big with her. In fact, the team morale in general was out of this world we were all so proud to be part of Team Scotland."

Whilst David hasn't competed at any other Commonwealth Games himself, he will be an intrinsic part of the 2014 Games. Having taken on the role as coach for the national team, David's own personal legacy will be to train and inspire Scotland's next generation of bowls champions.

He said: "I cannot wait for the Games to come to Scotland and there is nowhere more iconic than the greens at Kelvingrove, in the heart of Glasgow's west end, to host the bowls events.

"It will be strange being on the other side of the fence and coaching rather than competing but I get goose bumps just thinking about it, the buzz is already building and the whole bowls team are already fired up! We all know it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

David also knows that the legacy that is left behind is just as important as the amazing fortnight of sporting prowess.

He continued: "The lasting benefits will be incredible. For bowls as a sport for example, we will finally have custom-built, international greens and somewhere which we can be proud to have the world's best compete on.

"On a wider front, no-one can host an event better than Scotland and I hope that the Commonwealth spirit and excitement encourages more people across the country to get involved. There are going to be lots of opportunities on the back of the Games for people to be part of and I am sure that seeing sports like bowls on the world-stage will ensure more people give it a go. I look forward to the positive legacy the Games will leave for us all."

 

Photo credit: Rob Eyton-Jones