First Minister sends Paralympic good luck message

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and sportscotland’s high performance chief Mike Whittingham have sent good luck messages to the Scots and other athletes who will be competing for ParalympicsGB.

With 33 Scots on the team competing in 12 sports, two targets have already been achieved ahead of the Games: to have the highest number of Scots selected this century across the most sports this century.

The Scottish Government’s national agency for sport, sportscotland, set out to achieve a series of best performances at the Rio Paralympics since 1998, when an institute of sport was first established in Scotland and National Lottery investment helped strengthen the system.

sportscotland predicts that Scottish athletes can surpass the highest number of Scottish medallists so far this century, and across the highest number of sports in Rio. The current best in the 21st Century is 15 Scottish medallists in Sydney 2000 and medallists in five sports at London 2012.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Para-sport is growing in strength in Scotland and I’m delighted to see that Scots are so well represented in ParalympicsGB.

“I wish Scotland’s Paralympians, and all of ParalympicsGB, the very best of luck over the next two weeks.

“The dedication of these men and women is truly inspiring and I hope it will motivate others to take up sport and enjoy all the benefits it can bring.”

Mike Whittingham, Performance Director at the sportscotland institute of sport, said: “Congratulations to the 33 Scots who have been selected for ParalympicsGB. It’s a fantastic achievement and I hope that they and all their teammates have a great experience at the Rio Games. It is especially encouraging to see that a significant number of the para-athletes will be competing in their first Paralympics and there are Scots selected in 12 sports, as this demonstrates the strength in depth of the para-sport system that now exists across Scotland.

“Within the Scots on ParalymicsGB are some serious medal contenders, including Boccia World Champion Stephen McGuire and major Games veterans Neil Fachie and Libby Clegg, and it’s always exciting to see which new athletes will step up and make their mark on the world stage.

“We already have the most Scots across the highest number of sports this century in ParalympicsGB, and we believe that we can achieve the highest number of Scottish medallists across the highest number of sports this century as well.

“Thanks to sustained investment from the Scottish Government and National Lottery, coupled with the collaboration between sportscotland, the sports and Scottish Disability Sport, athletes can focus fully on their training and competition goals supported by world-class facilities, coaches and sports specialists. All the hard work into the preparation has been done and now it is their chance to shine on the world stage.”

Gavin MacLeod, CEO of Scottish Disability Sport said: “We are thrilled to see so many Scots selected for the ParalympicsGB team for the Rio de Janeiro Summer Paralympic Games. We are seeing the highest number of Scots at a Paralympic Games since 1996 and we wish all 33 athletes and players, along with their coaches and support staff, every success in Rio. This level of representation would not be possible without the hard work and inclusive approach of SDS’s key partners across Scotland and we would like to thank Scotland’s governing bodies of sport in particular for all they have done to make this happen.

“SDS is committed to supporting the full inclusion of children, athletes and players within Scottish sport and supporting those with potential to progress in their chosen sport. We would urge anyone who has been inspired by the success of Scottish athletes and players during the Rio Games to contact us to find out how we can help them find their sport and possibly join the next generation of Scottish sporting champions.”

There are currently 164 Scottish athletes on UK Sport/ sportscotland Podium and Podium Potential World-Class Programmes - including 28 para-athletes - with 92 of them based in Scotland.

List of Scots on ParalympicsGB:

Nathan Macqueen - Archery

Derek Rae - Athletics

Elizabeth Clegg - Athletics

Stefanie Reid - Athletics

Joanna Butterfield - Athletics

Maria Lyle - Athletics

Samantha Kinghorn - Athletics

Stephen McGuire - Boccia

Scott McCowan - Boccia

Joshua Rowe - Boccia

Jamie McCowan - Boccia

Gary McCowan - Boccia - competition partner

Linda McCowan - Boccia - competition partner

Kieran Steer - Boccia

Patrick Wilson - Boccia

Neil Fachie - Cycling

Karen Darke - Cycling

Hannah Dines - Cycling

Craig Mclean - Cycling - pilot

Martin Hickman - Football

David Porcher - Football

Jonathan Paterson - Football

Samuel Ingram - Judo - Visually Impaired

Michael Yule - Powerlifting

Andrew Mullen - Swimming

Scott Quin - Swimming

Abby Kane - Swimming

Stephen Clegg - Swimming

Alison Patrick - Triathlon

Hazel Smith - Triathlon - guide

Robyn Love - Wheelchair Basketball

Michael Kerr - Wheelchair Rugby

Gordon Reid - Wheelchair tennis.