2022 Achieve: Danny Porter

This Summer, three talented bowlers were part of the 66 athletes and coaches in Team Scotland’s Achieve programme who travelled to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. First run in 2010, the programme provides an opportunity for young and hopeful athletes to experience a Games environment first-hand, attend workshops and receive mentoring. We caught up with Aaron Betts, Danny Porter and Beth Riva to hear about their experience at the Games.

Danny, hot off a successful streak at the National Championships, gave us an overview of the format of the programme and the busy schedule of events the group attended whilst at Birmingham. We followed up with a quick Q&A discussing the highlights of his experience.

“Our Mentor was Bob Easson, I was in the same group as Aaron and Beth. Our mini group consisted of Ben Gallagher, Lucy Evans and Amy Newton.

“We arrived on the Wednesday and went to Scotland House to get Kitted Out then got to watch the Men’s Hockey match Pakistan vs Scotland. On Thursday we were back at Scotland House for a workshop with Scottish International Footballer Rachel Corsie on dealing and coping with pressure followed by Bowls at Leamington. Friday, we visited the Scotland Performance Centre followed by a Woman’s Netball match Wales vs Malawi. Finished off with group dinner and hearing from the inspirational David Smith MBE. On the Saturday we attended a Media Workshop at Scotland House then saw the Final Day of the Bowls at Leamington. On our last day we spent the morning at the Athletics before travelling home.”

Q1: Describe your experience of the Achieve programme…

A1: “It was a truly amazing experience to be a part of Team Scotland Achieve Programme amongst some amazing young athletes, coaches, and mentors. 

Being a Para Bowler, experiencing the inclusivity of the Games was brilliant. Seeing all the amazing athletes represent Scotland, watching them live or on TV, to then see them in person the following day at Scotland House, some with medals but all with great pride in being able to compete and represent Scotland was fantastic.

It was an honour to be selected by Bowls Scotland to experience the unforgettable time at Birmingham 2022. To be given the opportunity is amazing and one which I will definitely take with me going forward.

Being around some great people, including likes of David Smith MBE and Kieron Achara MBE, listening to what they have done and learning what I can take forward to progress myself in sport but also in life.”

Q2: What was your personal highlight during your time at the Games?

“I watch various sports at Commonwealth Games or Olympics on the TV anyway but was good to experience different sports live. Going to Leamington on two days to watch bowls which ended with us seeing Iain McLean getting Bronze was great, along with receiving a Team Scotland Bowls Shirt - a great memento of the Achieve Programme.”

Q3: How do you think this experience help shape your bowling career?

“As a bowler, the Commonwealth Games is the pinnacle of our sport and the level I inspire to reach in my career. To get a glimpse of what such an event is about and to be involved was an invaluable unique experience which could only be topped by competing myself. 

I get a buzz playing at Northfield with the crowd at National Championships and playing in PBA which is different to what used to, dealing with pressure etc and Commonwealth Games/World Championships is on a higher scale. To get to experience the atmosphere, visiting Scotland House and the Performance Centre to know what support is available to athletes and what I might expect if opportunity arises in the future was amazing.”

Q4: After a brilliant medal haul from Team Scotland’s bowlers this year, what would your message be to encourage anyone thinking about trying bowls?

“Scotland’s Para Team done absolutely fantastic at the games taking a clean sweep. Being involved and around the team, I know how well they’ve prepared and how good they are so I was very pleased to see them do well. It was also great to get to see Iain pick up his Bronze in the Singles as well.

Bowls is a sport that encompasses what the Commonwealth Games is all about: inclusivity and togetherness. A sport for all, and for all ages and abilities. Not only as a sport but of social importance and being part of a club. It is great sport, avoid the stigma and get involved by looking out your nearest club!!”

Huge thanks to Danny for sharing his experience of the Achieve Programme with us, and thanks also to sportscotland and the Team Scotland Youth Trust who support the scheme and make these opportunities available to young Scottish athletes. If you’ve been convinced to look for your local club and have a go at our sport for all, head to our Club Finder Map to search for clubs near you.

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