Commonwealth Games: James Heatly family affair swells Scottish success

From BBC - April 11, 2018

Young James Heatly has a bit of a way to go to match his grandfather's legacy in the Commonwealth Games, but in taking bronze on the diving board on Wednesday, he's made a fine start.

All he needs to do now to emulate the great man, Sir Peter, is win four more medals, then get appointed as Scotland's assistant team manager, then team manager, then vice-chairman of the organising committee, then team manager again, then team commandant, then chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation, then life vice-president.

Truth be told, it's a bit of an ask.

Before his death in 2015, Sir Peter had an involvement in 17 consecutive Commonwealth Games going back 64 years. No doubt, his spirit would have been in the air around the Heatly family at the Aquatic Centre when James was doing his thing and winning Scotland's first diving medal since Peter the patriarch was in his pomp.

James' father, Robert, tells a story. "My father carried the flag for Scotland in his third Commonwealth Games in 1958 in Cardiff," he says.

"The general team manager that year was a guy called Jim Grossart. Jim's neighbour was Ally McGregor, a former Scotland international swimmer. At my dad's funeral, Ally told us that Jim's widow had given him the flag that dad had carried in '58 and Ally presented it to James. It's a good luck charm. My dad encouraged James to get into diving, They would sit and have little chats."

The flag was brought to the Gold Coast and if you looked carefully you might have seen it waving when the bronze medal was won. What a moment for the Heatly family. Sixty-eight years after winning their first Commonwealth Games medal and 60 years after winning their last, they are back on the podium again.

This was a day when Scotland matched and then beat their target of 29 medals. Linda Pearson's bronze in the shooting made it 29 and not even a glorious amalgam of history's greatest mystics could have foreseen the identity of the athlete who would take Scotland to 30.

Dave 'The Rave' McMath, a 21-year-old engineer, whose profile in the preamble was not exactly of Eilidh Doyle proportions, literally fired Scotland into a new high in terms of number of medals won at a foreign Games.

By taking gold in the double trap shooting, the Scots had beaten their much-stated goal. It was their seventh gold to go with the 10 silver and 13 bronze already won.

Later, Heatly would make it 31 and Maria Lyle would make it 32 in the T35 100m at Carrara Stadium. With Reece McFadden winning his flyweight boxing quarter-final and John Docherty winning in the middleweight division, both of them are now in the medals as well. They are guaranteed a bronze at least. That's effectively 34 in the bag.


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