Preparing for the Games

Issued: Thu, 28 Nov 2013 10:25:00 GMT

Avenue talks to three of the University’s elite athletes hoping to compete in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games alongside some of the world’s top sports men and women.

Rising swimming star Camilla Hattersley is in her second year at Glasgow studying Aeronautical Engineering and is hoping to qualify for the 800m freestyle and relay swimming teams. 

‘It would mean so much for me to compete in my first Commonwealth Games in my home country,’ says Camilla, who swims for the City of Glasgow swim team. ‘Watching major swimming events on TV really inspired me and qualifying for Glasgow 2014 has been my biggest goal since I was young.’

Camilla’s swimming career really took off when she qualified for the Scottish National Youth development squad as a teenager. ‘I was really motivated to start competing seriously by the older swimmers in my swimming club whom I saw succeeding at national competitions,’ she explains. 

Balancing life as a student and an athlete is not always easy. She is currently studying part-time so that she can train and compete as well as study. Financial support from the University helps Camilla with her training and equipment costs. 

A sporting life

Student Joanna Patterson also receives financial support from the University to help with her athletics. She hopes to compete at the Commonwealth Games in the 400m and 800m as part of the Ireland team. In her fourth year studying Medicine, Joanna works hard on both her studies and her athletics training, and she loves being at Glasgow. 

‘I love Scotland, and the University of Glasgow has such a good reputation,’ explains Joanna. ‘The sporting opportunities that both the University and the city offer are brilliant, and I always know that the University’s support is there if required.’ 

Sport has been part of Joanna’s life since a young age. ‘I was brought up in a very sporty family,’ says Joanna. ‘At school, I was part of many of the sports teams. But athletics came the most naturally to me.’ 

After school, Joanna went to university in Bath to study Sports Sciences and her athletics career really kicked off when she was selected for the 400m in the World University Games. At Glasgow, she enjoys competing for the University teams as well as her national team. 

Even though she is overcoming an injury, Joanna is hopeful to compete at the Games in 2014. ‘I am moving up to run 400/800m instead of 200/400m and I am going to maximise my training to gain selection,’ says Joanna. ‘I would really love to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.’

Alumnus in the running

It’s not just the University’s current students who have hopes of competing in the Games. Hockey player Iain Scholefield, who graduated in Civil Engineering with Architecture in 2011, is also in the running. 

Iain, who currently plays for club team Qui Vive in Amsterdam, is excited about his hopes for making the Scotland team for the Games. ‘Personally I have never played in a big tournament in Scotland, so to play in front of my home crowd is going to be an experience,’ says Iain. ‘The thing I am probably most looking forward to is that all my friends will be able to come and watch!’

Getting to this point has required a lot of time and dedication. Iain successfully juggled his studies while playing hockey for Scotland and travelling internationally to compete. 

‘The University was really helpful and arranged for me to sit exams away from Glasgow,’ Iain explains. ‘The University supported me financially as well, which really helped in terms of my travel costs.’ 

‘The thing I am probably most looking forward to is that all my friends will be able to come and watch!’

Iain believes that without this flexibility he wouldn’t have been able to compete at all. The academic flexibility provided by the University gives athletes the freedom to train and compete, and still sit their exams. It can help make dreams of competing in events like the Games a reality. 

The University continues to recruit and support athletes with similar sporting aspirations. As the Games approach in June, Glasgow will be watching with interest to see how Camilla, Joanna, Iain and other University athletes past and present get on. We would love to hear from other alumni who are competing in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Please email us at

About the Games 

Glasgow 2014 will be the 20th Commonwealth Games and it takes place from 23 July to 3 August. 17 sports will be played in this multi-sport event with 71 teams of athletes from across the Commonwealth. First held in 1930, the Games take place every four years and were previously held in Scotland in 1970 and 1986. One million spectators are expected to attend the Glasgow event, aided by an army of up to 15,000 local volunteers.

Sporting alumni family

At the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Moira Walls (MA 1973) won a bronze medal in the high jump. Moira married a fellow Glasgow alumnus, the decathlete Kevin Maguire. Their younger daughter, Kirsty Maguire (MBChB 2007), followed in the footsteps of her mother to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in 2006. Kirsty competed in the pole vault, finishing 13th.

Mark Beaumont covers the Games 

Mark Beaumont (MA 2006), adventurer, broadcaster and Glasgow graduate, crossed 71 countries and territories for the BBC to cover one of the greatest traditions of the Commonwealth Games, the Queen’s Baton Relay. The baton toured for 40 days across the Commonwealth and Mark’s coverage featured on various BBC programmes including The One Show, BBC Breakfast and Radio 2.