Commonwealth Games: Scotland on brink of record after six-medal haul

By Richard WintonBBC Sport Scotland in Birmingham
2022 Commonwealth Games
Hosts: Birmingham Dates: 28 July to 8 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV with extra streams on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport mobile app; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra; live text and clips online.

Scotland are on the brink of recording their best Commonwealth Games outside of Glasgow 2014 after winning six medals on Saturday at Birmingham 2022.

Rhythmic gymnast Louise Christie took a historic silver in the women's ribbon final to start the day, before Jake Wightman (1500m) and Laura Muir (800m) took bronze on the track.

Iain McLean did likewise in the bowls singles, while bantamweight Matthew McHale and welterweight Tyler Jolly also had their bronze medals confirmed after losing their semi-finals.

Scotland have now won 41 medals at the Games - eight gold, nine silver, and 24 bronze.

That leaves them just three shy of the total from Gold Coast four years ago, which was the highest return apart from Glasgow 2014 - with three more boxing medals guaranteed.

Middleweight Sam Hickey stopped England's Lewis Richardson in Saturday's semi-finals, before light-heavyweight Sean Lazzerini did for Yusuf Lucasi Changalawe of Tanzania. Then Reese Lynch took care of Canada's Wyatt Sanford in the light-welterweight division.

All three will fight for gold on Sunday. At worst, they will add silvers to the tally.

McHale and Jolly could not match them, though. Both thought they had done enough against Northern Ireland's Dylan Eagleson and Ioan Croft of Wales respectively, but the judges thought otherwise.

There was semi-final disappointment, too, for McLean in the lawn bowls at Victoria Park in Leamington Spa.

Having eased through the competition, he lost out on a gold-medal match spot to Australian Aaron Wilson before recovering to beat Malaysia's Fairul Izwan Abd Muin to take bronze.

Belter of a routine makes history

Aberdonian Christie - the first Scottish woman to compete in an apparatus event since 1994 - executed a sensational routine to hold the lead until the very last, when Joe Ee Ng of Malaysia snatched gold away.

The word was that the 21-year-old's routine - dreamed up little more than a month ago - was going to be "a belter" and she didn't disappoint. It was part Scottish trad music, part Insomnia, part Sister Bliss but 100% magnificent.

And for a long time, it looked like it might just be enough to give Scotland a ninth gold of these Games and match the mark set in Australia last time round.

Christie - her ribbon embroidered with the words 'Scotland the Brave' - soared to the top of the standings with four rivals left to go. One failed to match her. Then a second faltered. A medal was hers. When a third came up short, too, a scarcely-believable silver was around her neck.

Could 16-year-old Ng deny her gold? The Malaysian - who had won gold in the ball earlier in the day - executed a high-tariff performance, which was reflected by how long the judges took to deliberate over her score. Years seemed to pass as everyone in the hushed area gawped at the scoreboard.

Cameras were trained on Christie and Ng. Then the result appeared. No gold, but it would be hard to argue this was anything other than a success given the Scot wasn't even born the last time one of her compatriots was even in one of these finals.

"Waiting for that last score to come up felt like a lifetime, but to have a medal around my neck was all that I wanted," she told BBC Sport Scotland. "Deep down, I knew it was possible to get a medal but I think it's going to take a long time to sink in."

Boxers have eyes only for gold

Scotland's boxers might be loud, but they are quietly becoming one of the stories of the Games. Hickey and Lazzerini will win at least silver on Sunday, and the eight-strong team will leave with five medals.

Hickey caused an upset by flooring Team GB team-mate Lewis Richardson in the second round to set up a final with Callum Peters of Australia (11:45 BST).

"It was a peach of a shot," the European medallist said of the sweet right hand that did for the Englishman. "We could fight 10 times and win five each, but I was just better on the day.

"I put on a punch-perfect performance and I showed people that I'm only here for the gold medal."

Lazzerini is of a similar mind. He will face Taylor Bevan of Wales (12:15 BST) with glory at stake.

"Everyone gave up on me in the past few years because I've struggled with injuries but tomorrow I've got another scalp to take," he said. "Tune in if you want to see someone get knocked out."

Lynch, meanwhile, has looked peerless throughout the round in Birmingham, despite a difficult draw.

His Canadian opponent caused him no real angst, as evidenced by manner in which the Fauldhouse boxer cruised through the final round. Louis Colin of Mauritius now stands in his way (15:15 BST).

"I've dealt with three or four top boys and I'm just having fun out there," he told BBC Sport Scotland. "I don't need to dream about a gold medal because I'll see it tomorrow hingin around my neck."

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