A dozen years have passed since Aberdeen’s Neil Stirton won his first Commonwealth Games medal on Australian soil – and he’s delighted history has repeated itself.
Mannofield shooter Stirton, 37, who practises his sport at Bon Accord Small Bore Rifle Club, took silver in yesterday’s men’s 50m rifle prone event.
He’d won three medals at three Games before Gold Coast, with a gold and bronze in the prone and three-position pairs contests in Delhi eight years ago, as well as a silver in the prone pairs at Melbourne 2006.
Stirton scored 247.7 and said: “I’m over the moon.
“My first Commonwealth Games was Melbourne in 2006. 12 years on to come back and win another medal in Australia, this time my first individual medal.
“So far it’s been one of each colour in pairs, so I’m delighted to make it into the medal standings for the individual.
“Mentally it was very tough, the conditions were a bit tricky.
“You can see that from scores across the board and then, in the final, there were four of us from across the Home Nations.
“It was quite something – friends I’ve known for 20 plus years, and it was really something for us to be standing on the podium together.”
Stirton was pipped to the gold by Wales’ David Phelps, who scored 248.8 in the final elimination round, with Kenneth Parr of England getting the bronze medal (226.6).
Stirton, who recorded a fourth-placed finish at Glasgow 2014, is loving being back Down Under.
He said: “Back in Glasgow that was phenomenal. I’ve got to admit the Aussies know how to run a sporting event.
“I said that after Melbourne and I’ll say that again here.
“It’s just the whole sporting ethos they live by, their mentality.
“They’re really positive about sport.
“Here in Gold Coast everyone’s coming up to you and are just really passionate.
“You can see that in the organisation of the Games and it’s been superb so far.”
Stirton, who was asked to talk to his Scotland team-mates before the Games on the importance of mental preparations, was thrilled he’s been able to add to a strong team medal tally, with another chance still to come.
On nearing the Scots’ medal target – with the aim to matching the 29 medals (11 golds, seven silvers and 11 bronzes), won at Melbourne 2006, he said: “I’m losing track. I’m trying to keep up with all the medals coming in hard and fast.
“I know we had a fantastic Games in Glasgow, but we’re trying to beat the medal tally we had in Melbourne – we’re pretty close, we’re maybe one or two medals away.
“I’m very positive we’ll surpass that in the coming days.
“I’ve still got one more event (the 50m rifle three position) to go on Saturday, so we’ll see what comes from that. Today’s definitely my strongest of the two events, but the goal is to get into the final.
“We’ll take it step by step, that’s the plan.”
At the end of yesterday, the Scots were on 28 Gold Coast Games medals.