Scotland's athletes are now under starters orders for Glasgow 2014, with the official Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) selection period to qualify for Team Scotland opening at the start of April 2013.
Athletes from the 17 sports on the Games programme will have just over a year to produce the necessary performances to lay claim to a coveted place on the Team, for what promises to be an amazing home Games. What makes it even more special is the fact that the Commonwealth Games is the only multi-sport event where athletes get to compete for Scotland as a nation in its own right.
With the clear aim for Team Scotland being to have its largest and most successful team ever in Glasgow, and with many of our athletes having experienced first-hand the excitement of a home Olympic Games in London last year, with its venues full of a passionate home crowd, CGS is planning to replicate that national feel good factor here in Scotland.
To highlight the start of the build-up to the Games for Team Scotland, CGS today launched its new public engagement campaign "Go Scotland!". The campaign aims to raise the awareness of the 17 sports in the Games and give greater profile to the athletes aiming for selection to the team. It's also calling for the whole of Scotland to get behind the team by pledging their support at goscotland.org and through social media channels.
To mark the occasion a special edition set of athlete images are being published, showing prospective Team Scotland athletes in a different and unusual light, as they have never been seen before. Taken at the magnificent Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, the theme of the photographs is about sport meeting culture, which will be reflected in 2014 through the extensive cultural festival that is being organised as part of the Commonwealth Games and which will showcase Glasgow's international reputation as a cultural as well as sporting centre of excellence.
The group shot shows the full range of sports in the Games and the strength and unity of the team, whilst each of the individual photos links the athlete and their sport to an exhibit or the architecture in Kelvingrove, drawing out the parallels between the two either in terms of the movement involved or key attributes of the sport. They aim to create a talking point and everyone will have their own favourite!
Calling for people to back the campaign, CGS Chairman Michael Cavanagh said: â€œToday marks the start of the journey to Glasgow 2014 for Scotland's athletes as they strive to meet the agreed selection standards for Team Scotland and we are greatly encouraged by the performances so far.
"The athletes greatly value the support of their family and friends, but to know that they have the additional backing from the Scottish public as a whole, would mean a lot to them, just as it did to Team GB in London last year. This is why we have launched this campaign today to encourage everyone across the length and breadth of the country to actively support us in our quest for success in Glasgow and share our journey to the Games."
Sport Minister Shona Robison added: "This is an exciting time for Team Scotland and all Scottish athletes who have been in training for the Games for years - now it's crunch time. The Team has all the ingredients to succeed next year, with outstanding facilities, high standards of coaching and an extra £1 million Scottish Government funding this year for elite sport. Team Scotland will be the strongest and best prepared team possible and I want to see everyone in Scotland get behind all of our athletes and sign up for the Go Scotland! campaign. Together we can boost Team Scotland to win gold and deliver the best ever Commonwealth Games."