by Craig Wright
“It’s nice to come in a bit under the radar this time!”
Eilidh Doyle laughs as she remembers the build-up to Glasgow 2014. As the hosts for the twentieth instalment of the Commonwealth Games, Scottish athletes were the focus of national attention in the weeks leading up to ‘the friendly Games’. As the poster girl for Team Scotland, that attention was intensified yet further for Doyle.
Not that the 400m hurdler minded too much.
“We didn’t really know what to expect with Glasgow, to be honest, but we knew it was going to be big. I absolutely loved it though!” said Doyle.
“It is nice not to have that home focus this time around, though.”
Now one of the more experienced members of Team Scotland, the 2018 Commonwealth Games, on Australia’s Gold Coast, represent the latest opportunity for Doyle to make her mark on the global stage. The 31-year-old remains one of Scotland’s premier medal hopes on the track, yet the Perth native is taking it as she always has – one step at a time.
“I’ve never been [to the Gold Coast], so I’m looking forward to it!” she smiled.
“It’s so nice to be part of it all again. This’ll be my third Commonwealth Games now – 2010 [in Delhi] was my first, as well as the first major medal I ever won, and it feels so long ago now.
“To be back here with a different team – it feels fresh, but familiar at the same time.”
Preparations for the Games have taken a different route for Scotland’s top track and field stars than they perhaps would in normal situations. The earlier timing of the Games – which begin on Wednesday – has meant an adjustment in training schedule for Doyle and her compatriots, as, when speaking to Brig at the team announcement back in December, she explained.
“For us, the season doesn’t normally start until May, so we’ve had to readjust slightly. I’ll run the indoor season, then it’s off out to Australia as soon as that’s done and hopefully get a couple of 400m hurdles under my belt before competition starts.
“I won’t do anything too strenuous training-wise straight away – we’re making sure we go out there in enough time to prepare properly, or if we don’t adjust properly that we’ve got time to deal with it properly. I just can’t wait to see some sun!”
Despite having enjoyed a more than remarkable career to date, its clear that the hunger and drive for success still remains for Doyle as she approaches another major championship. So what can Scottish supporters hope to see from their hurdling heroine when the action kicks off Down Under?
“I’d love to win another medal” said Doyle.
“I’ve got two silvers from 2010 and 2014, so it’d be great to go one better.
“I’ve just got to go out there and run my best though, and we’ll see what that means at the end.”
The 2018 Commonwealth Games get underway on Wednesday 4 April