Commonwealth Games success gives Scotland platform to build on

PA Media

In the city of the bull, they boasted these would be the biggest and best Commonwealth Games ever.

A claim that most host cities make to attract athletes and crowds alike.

In fairness, save a few exceptions, most cities can usually back it up after the bandwagon has packed up and rolled out of town.

In the build up to these Games, Team Scotland decided against bold predictions of their own.

Gold Coast in 2018 was the country's most successful Games on non Scottish soil. A total of 44 medals were won – nine of those were gold.

Behind the scenes, in the build up to Birmingham, few were talking about that being bettered in the West Midlands.

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It's fair to assume then that even those who picked the team, would have been more than pleasantly surprised to see a final medal tally of 51, which included 13 golds.

The counting of medals mid Games is part of the Commonwealth experience.

Organisers, fans, journalists and athletes look for the medal table come close of play on any given day.

Ross MurdochPA Media

If it's going well, the spectators get the feel-good factor, the journalists get their copy and those competing lap up the bragging rights and pride.

But the final medal table can also be looked upon as a snapshot of a nation's sporting competence.

It can be used to take the temperature of a country's relationship with certain sports.

The results suspended in time and used as a tool in the fight for more funding or to show why investment is working and should continue.

These are the battles that will now play out away from the field of play in the coming months.

Conversations will take place between governing bodies, Sportscotland and the Scottish government to see how best to build on what has been achieved.

To make sure, for the right reasons, that success can breed success.

Rosemary Lenton who helped win gold for Scotland at the age of 72PA Media

Ministers will be reminded of the commitment to double the budget for sport during this parliament.

At a time when money has rarely been tighter, it can seem like a big sell.

Why then should sport ask for more during such troubled financial times?

What can't be measured in the way sporting achievements can, is the impact on the psyche of a nation.

Games like Birmingham 2022 provide people with sporting memories that will live on.

Scotland won't quickly forget Eilish McColgan storming home to take gold in the 10,000 metres and stepping out from the shadow of her mother, Liz, who did the same over three decades ago.

The words of swimmer Ross Murdoch after his last race will resonate with those who have struggled with sport and beyond.

And athletes like 49-year-old cyclist Aileen McGlynn and 72-year-old bowler Rosemary Lenton reminded us all that if you work hard enough, for long enough, the rewards can be there.

Scotland's Samantha Kinghorn celebrates after winning bronzePA Media

The integrated nature of the para sports is also one of the selling points of the Commonwealth Games.

A reminder that those who cheer on able-bodied athletes are just as willing to do the same for those with disabilities.

Sometimes sport struggles to be heard, or even taken seriously, in the wider context of what we are told is happening in the world around us.

But, despite concerns over the future relevance of an event that was born of Britain's colonial past, Birmingham 2022 once again showed the power of sport to bring people together, to celebrate life and to inspire.

Few things have the ability to unite just when unity is needed.

Organisers will use what was witnessed in the West Midlands to argue this event has a future.

Team Scotland will use what they achieved to build a more successful one.

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