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Scottish athletes mobbed by fans at homecoming celebration

Paralympians Homecoming (PA/Jane Barlow)
Paralympians Homecoming (PA/Jane Barlow)

The record-breaking success of Scotland’s Olympic and Paralympic stars is being celebrated.

Dozens of athletes were cheered by children and mobbed for selfies as they arrived at Oriam, the new sports performance centre at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

The homecoming event included a Q&A and an opportunity for young people to try Olympic sports such as rowing, judo and tennis, aided by tips from the athletes.

The event is being followed by a public celebration in Edinburgh’s Festival Square, before the athletes attend the Team Scotland Scottish Sports Awards at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on Wednesday evening.

Paralympians Homecoming (PA/Jane Barlow)
Paralympians Homecoming (PA/Jane Barlow)

Wheelchair tennis star Gordon Reid proudly showed off his gold and silver medals from Rio 2016 at Oriam.

He said: “It’s been pretty crazy since I got back, the reception has been incredible.

“To be able to come back and share the success is nice and to see so many kids here is great.

“Hopefully the chance to see a gold or silver medal and maybe try it on will inspire them to go and do the same in the future. Days like this are really important.”

Rio 2016 was Scotland’s most successful overseas Olympics, with Scottish competitors securing 13 medals – four gold, seven silver and two bronze.

Scots athletes on the ParalympicsGB team won 17 medals, surpassing their London 2012 total of 11.

Most of the athletes wore their medals round their neck at the event as they posed for pictures, but swimmer Duncan Scott, who won two silvers in Brazil, had his in his pocket.

He said: “I’m needing to take them to get tidied up, if I wear them they hit off each other and they are pretty scratched.

“A wee kid also dropped one of them in a puddle, but I suppose I can say they’ve got character.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the athletes have “done their country proud”.

She said: “On behalf of the people of Scotland, I would like to offer my congratulations to all of the Scottish Olympians and Paralympians. They have done themselves and their country proud and will have inspired the next generation of athletes.

“Today’s event was a fantastic way to celebrate the achievements of our athletes and it is hard to think of a more fitting venue for us to do this than at Oriam, Scotland’s brand new, world class national performance centre.”

Sportscotland chair Mel Young said Oriam was chosen to stage the first celebration as it will be key to future Scottish sporting success.

“Sometimes in this country we’re not so good at celebrating success so this is a big three cheers to everyone involved, and we need to build on it for the future,” he said.

“We’re creating a world-class system here in Scotland with places like Oriam to create more success in the future but related to that, of course, we want more people participating in sport in the wider community, so it should be a win-win for society.”


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