Eilidh Doyle has been named as Scotland’s flag bearer for Wednesday’s 2018 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on Australia’s Gold Coast.
The 31-year-old from Perth has captained the Great Britain athletics team previously and won Olympic bronze in the women’s 4x400 metres relay in Rio.
She is three times a World Championships medallist in the same event and won the European 400m hurdles title in 2014. She has twice claimed silver medals at the Commonwealth Games in the hurdles.
Doyle said: “This is just such a huge honour. I was really chuffed to have been nominated but to actually be voted to carry the flag is something else.
“It is also very special that I will be the first female to carry the flag. I am very proud to represent women in sport and I am a very patriotic Scot; so to step out and wave the Saltire will be an amazing feeling!
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And to celebrate, 31-year-old Doyle wafted the Saltire in the coastal breeze from a dingy across a 200 metres lagoon.
She was escorted by Australian lifeguards at Surfers Paradise as she was named flag bearer for Wednesday’s XXI Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.
Doyle told Press Association Sport: “It was a bit surreal. I was more worried about staying in the boat and not falling in the water, because there were lots of phones out and a lot of cameras.
“I used to swim before I did athletics. If I’d have fallen in I would’ve been OK, but I don’t think my pride would’ve been.
“It was really cool to get that entrance into it and a lovely welcome.”
Doyle becomes the first female Scottish flag bearer and was selected from a shortlist including shooter Jennifer McIntosh and lawn bowls pair Alex Marshall and Paul Foster. The three athletes will be invited to walk out immediately behind Doyle as deputy flag bearers.
Doyle, who studied in the Capital, captained the Great Britain athletics team at last year’s World Championships in London, where she won a 4x400 metres relay silver to become Scotland’s most decorated track and field athlete.
She won Olympic bronze in the women’s 4x400 metres relay in Rio and the London 2017 medal was her third world medal from the same event.
Doyle won the European 400m hurdles title in 2014 and has twice claimed silver medals at the Commonwealth Games in the hurdles, but described competition here as “fierce”.
To be chosen by her peers as flag bearers “means the world,” she said.
She added: “When you’re growing up and start doing athletics, you want medals and you want times and you want to go to championships. You forget about these things you can do along the way.
“Last year getting voted to be team captain was huge and this is on a par with that. When I’m long retired these will be the things I look back on and will be the highlights.
“That’s the biggest honour you can get, that people value and appreciate you.”