Shirley McIntosh has won more Commonwealth shooting medals than any other Scottish woman. In bringing home the first ever womenâ€™s prone gold medal for shooting in the 1994 Games in Victoria, she is also the first female Scottish shooter to be awarded an MBE for her services to the sport.
With more Commonwealth shooting medals under her belt than any other Scottish woman, Shirley McIntosh is no stranger to sporting success.
But for Shirley, reaching the level she did was never something she envisioned when she first tried out shooting in her teens as a member of the cadets in Clackmannanshire.
She said: â€œWhen I was a pupil at Dollar Academy, we had the opportunity to learn basic shooting skills as part of the Combined Cadet Force within the school. Although I enjoyed it at the time, it was only when I went onto study at Edinburgh University that I began to take it more seriously.
â€œI decided to sign-up to the university rifle club after bumping into some other former Dollar Academy pupils who were members. As one of the best shooting clubâ€™s in the UK at the time, the encouragement and support I received there meant my skills developed pretty quickly and I started to feel that I could take my shooting to the next level. I suppose before that I didnâ€™t think I was good enough to compete at international standard but the members of the club made me realise that I did have the ability and everything just seemed to happen from there.â€
First competing in the Commonwealth Games in Victoria in 1994, Shirley still holds the distinction of being the first ever Scottish woman to win a prone gold medal for shooting and has brought home a total of four Commonwealth medals over the years.
For Shirley, the whole experience of being part of Team Scotland has been brilliant: â€œEvery Games I have participated in has been good in its own right but for me, the atmosphere of my first Games in 1994 will always remain the most special. The rules of shooting had just been altered at Commonwealth Games level so that women competed separately to men and this really opened up the field to female contenders for the first time. It was very fantastic to be part of such an historic Games.â€
Despite her retirement in 2008, Shirley has continued to follow the sport and now has a vested interest in Team Scotlandâ€™s 2014 shooting squad with daughter Jen set to compete and husband, Donald acting as Sport Team Leader for Shooting.
She hopes everyone backs the Games next year and that the excitement leads to a lasting legacy for sport in Scotland: â€œI really hope that as a nation people get behind Team Scotland and show their support. Iâ€™ll personally be there cheering on the team and with both my daughter and husband part of the shooting squad, Iâ€™m nervous but also excited for them getting to be such an intrinsic part of a Games on home soil.
â€œI was actually lucky enough to be part of Edinburgh 1986 as a volunteer technical assistant and medal winners escort so know just how influential a home Games can be. Getting to see world-class sport in Scotland and spend time with some of the athletes competing very much inspired me to go on and develop my own sporting career and Iâ€™m sure the Games next year will do the same for many more aspiring young Scots. Itâ€™s fantastic to see so much already happening on the ground to encourage people to get involved in the Games and I hope we use this to build a legacy from the Games to be proud of.â€