Willie Wood MBE

Date: 02/11/2016

First representing his country in 1966, Willie has subsequently played in a record-breaking eight Commonwealth Games. He is the most capped Scottish Commonwealth Games athlete ever with 127 appearances for Scotland over a career which spanned 45 years.

As far as Commonwealth legacies go, none come greater than legendary bowler Willie Wood’s.

Having represented Scotland in a record-breaking eight Commonwealth Games, Willie first took the helm for his country in 1966 and is now the most capped Scottish Commonwealth Games athlete ever.

For the 75 year old from Gifford, the Games have played a huge role in his life:

“I have many memories having played in so many Games but my proudest moment was being on the podium in 1982 and bringing home gold as bowls singles champion.

”The reaction back home was incredible – I arrived in Gifford to a huge reception with the place decked out in flags and well-wishers lining the streets. It really felt like a hero’s welcome, it was very special.”

Having grown up in the small East Lothian town, Willie first tried bowls in the 1940s and joined his local club aged 12, quickly winning accolades and progressing through the ranks.

Despite not playing for three years due to national service obligations in Germany in the ‘50s, Willie’s natural talent saw him win the Gifford club championship in his first year back to the sport – the start of an illustrious bowls career.

He said: “There wasn’t much to do in Gifford in the ‘40s so with both my folks bowls players, I decided I’d give it a go too.

“I joined the local bowls club when I was 12 and still play there almost every night to this day. The first time I represented Scotland at Commonwealth level was in New Zealand in 1974 and it really was an incredible time. I’ve since been privileged enough to play seven more times for the country and enjoyed every Games in a different way. It’s always an exciting event to be part of.”

Although retired from competitive bowls since 2011, the personal legacy that Willie has contributed to the Scottish sporting world is second to none. He is now an ambassador for Bowls Scotland and looking forward to the many benefits the Games will bring.

He said: “Having the Commonwealth Games coming to Scotland will create a great atmosphere across the country. It’s a fantastic feat for a small country like ours that we’ll have hosted the Games three times and I know we’ll all be backing Team Scotland next summer.

”Most importantly, the Games will also bring many benefits and help to put Scotland on the map. I’m sure we’ll see increased tourism on the back of the event itself and I hope the achievements of our athletes will go on to inspire the nation and bring even more people into sports, particularly sports that they might not ever have considered trying before. This would be a fantastic legacy for the Games to leave behind.”