James Heatly picked for what he fears will be the last Commonwealth Games
James Heatly has been handed a third tilt at a Commonwealth Games medal but the diver hopes Birmingham 2022 won’t spell the end of the road for the the event.
The 24-year-old from Edinburgh has become the first Scot to be officially selected for what is slated to be a 22-strong aquatics squad.
Heatly used his bronze in Gold Coast in 2018 as a springboard to reaching his first Olympic final in Tokyo and extended his family’s rich history at the Commonwealths following the hat-trick of golds won by his late grandfather Peter in the 1950s.
But with the future of the Games in doubt due to a lack of interest in staging a 2026 edition and claims its brand has become tarnished, the Scottish champion hopes it will earn a reprieve as an vehicle to let young talent dip their toes in the water.
“It's really sad it could disappear,” Heatly said. “I love the Games as a whole and it's such a great opportunity. Because for me, the British team is so strong. I was able to compete at Glasgow and Gold Coast when I don't even think I would have made the English team for Gold Coast at the time.
“It meant I gained so much experience when I was younger, which has really helped me now. So it would be a real shame for it to go. And I really hope that's not the case.”
With para-swimmers not counting towards the quota, Heatly is expected to be joined by defending champion and fellow Capital diver Grace Reid in Scotland’s team.
Selected initially in the individual springboard, he will also push for a synchro place for close friend Ross Beattie after the pair earned a consideration standard together in Edinburgh earlier this month.
“We've been working really hard at the synchro,” he said. “As two very different divers with different heights with different weights, we actually have different styles. So the fact that we just showed that our hard work paid off, and we just really surprised ourselves.”
Heatly will head this week to Abu Dhabi for Fina’s Aquatics Festival and a spot of open water diving to round off his year.