Local quartet Ollie Hynd, Molly Renshaw, David Fletcher and Stephen Lisgo will fly the local flag when the 20th Commonwealth Games get underway in Glasgow from today.
They will be among 6,500 athletes and officials from 71 countries who will compete in 17 sports over 11 days, from today until 3rd August.
Hynd (Monday, 28th July) and Renshaw (Saturday, 26th July) will be chasing swimming gold, Fletcher mountain bike glory (Tuesday, 29th July) and Lisgo steeplechase success (Friday, 1st August)
Ahead of the competition, 24-year-old Fletcher, who lives in Clipstone and is formerly from Edwinstowe, said: “I’m really looking forward to representing England and competing in the sport I love and have a great passion for. I hope to do my family, friends and sponsors proud.
“Competing in the Commonwealth Games means the world to me, racing in such a prestigious event, competing against the world’s best.
“This is by far my biggest achievement of my career so far and I am hoping for a good result.
“I have mixed emotions coming into the Games, nervous on how I’ll do and the size of such a major event, yet excited at the same time.”
Local runner Steve Lisgo has been selected to represent Scotland and compete in the 3k steeplechase event, where he will compete against the current world record holder, the current Olympic champion and the current world champion.
The Scottish selectors set athletes a very tough qualifying standard based on the eighth place at the previous Games in Delhi in 2010.
In attempting to achieve the necessary qualifying time of 8 minutes 40 seconds Steve travelled to America and Europe to seek quality competition, competing in international races in California and Belgium, where he won both his races in times of 8-39 and 8-38.
The former Garibaldi schoolboy from Forest Town now works as a teacher in Leeds where Olympic and World Triathlon champions Alistair Brownlee and Non Stanford are among his training partners. When his race schedule allows, Steve competes for Mansfield Harriers in the British Athletics League.
He has spent the last couple of years in the athletics wilderness after an Achilles injury prevented him from putting together any amount of decent training – let alone having any shot of improving his 3,000m steeplechase best of 8:35.49 from 2009. But he is now fit and raring to go.
Lisgo said: “I am really excited about running in Glasgow and so are my family.
“I qualify to represent Scotland through my late mother, so it will mean a hell of a lot for me to pull on a Scotland vest and run at Hampden Park.”
Kirkby star Ollie Hynd is hoping to complete a grand slam of all the top swimming medals available in the SM8 200m individual medley.
Hynd, awarded the MBE last year and still only 19, is already the Paralympics, World and European champion in the SM8 200m individual medley and now has the chance to complete the set.
“I can’t think of anyone who has ever done it before,” he said. “I hope I can get all four – that would be good.
“Being almost on home soil again it will be reminiscent of London. The atmosphere is going to be electric and I will be able to feed off that.
“I am feeling pretty confident to be honest. There is no reason to think I am not capable of doing it. I will go there and see what I’ve got.”
Fellow swimmer, Selston’s Molly Renshaw, made headlines two years ago when the teenager appealed unsuccessfully against her omission from the London Olympics.
The then 16-year-old was 0.83 seconds outside the qualifying standard at the National Championships but Renshaw’s team appealed after she won the 200m breaststroke outside the Olympic qualifying time.
She had swum the necessary time before, recording 2:26:81 to finish second to Stacey Tadd at the first trial in March. However, the rules state only the race winner was guaranteed a place on the squad.
But she can now put that heartbreak behind her as she goes for Glasgow glory and will resume her battle with Sophie Taylor for the honour of being the fastest English 200m breaststroke swimmer.
She and the sprint specialist from Leeds jointly hold the record for the event.
Stay in touch with all four local competitors via www.chad.co.uk.