Scots keen to give Coast a sporting chance
  • Thursday 05 November 2015

The Sunshine Coast is looking good to be the training base for the 2018 Scottish Commonwealth Games team.

An 18-person delegation from the Scottish Commonwealth Games Association has spent the past two days inspecting local facilities with representatives from Sunshine Coast Council.

Team Chef de Mission Jon Doig said our region ticked all the boxes as a location for Scottish athletes to prepare for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

“The sunshine is out so that’s the first and foremost thing you’re delivering on,” Mr Doig said.

“In terms of the facilities, there’s a really great range so lots of possibilities for getting our athletes well prepared for the games.

"We’ve had all 17 sports looking around the Sunshine Coast at what the options are for them here.

“Some will look to come out for full-on training facilities and others will come out and look for the relaxation before they into the heavy work just prior to the games so it’s been different things for different sports."

Mr Doig said the 2018 Scottish Commonwealth Games team would comprise of up to 300 athletes.

“Our priority is enabling them to come through and acclimatise for the games that are in April, 2018," he said.

"We’ll obviously be coming from a Scottish winter so particularly those sports that are contested outdoors, they’ll be looking to come out around December and some of the indoor sports will come a bit later.

“We’ll be getting the athletes to focus on the Games first and foremost and then hopefully relax after the games and enjoy your fantastic scenery and fantastic hospitality.

"I’m sure a few of the athletes will stay on after the Games and enjoy what Australia has to offer.”

Tourism, Sport and Major Events Portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray joined Scottish delegates on their tour of the region and said the feedback had been extremely positive.

“This is a big coup for the Sunshine Coast if we can seal this. I reckon we’re about 90% there," Cr O'Pray said.

“We’ve had their heads of sport here yesterday and today and every one of them were just praising our facilities.

“We really have some world class facilities here on the Sunshine Coast.

"The rugby sevens representatives were just gob-smacked by Sunshine Coast Stadium and the University with the tartan track, the swimming pool complex and everything that’s there form a medical and high performance point of view.

“What an amazing commercial for the Sunshine Coast it would be having up to 300 athletes and their managers and coaches coming to the region for a month in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games.

“We know how popular social media is nowadays particularly with sports stars and so to have hundreds of them here telling everyone how wonderful the Coast is right through Europe and particularly through Scotland that would be a huge commercial for our region.”

If Team Scotland gives our region the nod as its pre-Games training base, they’re likely to set up camp at Caloundra.

Chair of Caloundra Tourism Bill Darby said the social and economic benefits for the local community would be substantial.

“For our kids and local businesses to share in the cultural experience of another country coming here would be an exciting and rare opportunity and I think it’s something our community would really embrace,” Mr Darby said.

“From an economic point of view it’s a very exciting prospect having international visitors here.

"The rule in tourism is, the further you travel to get to a destination the more you spend when you’re there and so we’re really looking forward to these athletes coming and enjoying the terrific sports facilities we’ve got and also the fantastic hospitality and all the other attractions that make the Sunshine Coast the great place that it is.

“The word of mouth and also the communication that people now have through social media can really put Caloundra on the map because every tweet, every Facebook post and every Instagram post will show the fantastic environment that we’ve got here.

“So I’m very confident that if we get these athletes here our business community will put its best foot forward in making them feel welcome and really showcasing the hospitality that we’re famous for.”