Iain McLean - 2022 season recap
Last Summer saw Iain McLean add to his impressive collection of bowls titles and trophies. Iain already has two Singles Scottish Championships, a World Singles Champion of Champions and World Cup Singles titles under his belt not to mention his success at club and county level over the years. In July 2022 Iain once again got his hands on the Andrew Hamilton trophy with the Lanarkshire South team. 2022 also saw him head to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, his first multi-sport event, returning with a bronze medal in the Men’s Singles.
We spoke to Iain for a Q&A to find out more about his impressive 2022 outdoor season…
Q1) What was it like to bring a Commonwealth medal back home to Scotland?
A1) It was a great feeling, one of the most enjoyable of my career. We all know how fierce competition is to make any Scotland team, so it was a massive relief to medal as well, as you can never be sure if or when you'll get another chance. The final day was difficult having lost the semi-final in the morning & it still stings not making the gold medal match. But, to see the support & Saltire flags being waved when I walked out for the bronze medal match was a huge lift. Thinking back over the whole experience; medalling, watching my best mate & clubmate Garry Brown win gold, the support, the camaraderie between the team all brings back good memories that I'll never forget.
Q2) How has Blackwood Victoria BC supported you in your bowling career and in the build-up to the games?
A2) The club and members have always been a great support. In the lead up to the Games, once we knew we had to play with red/blue bowls which I never had, the club immediately stepped in and purchased two new sets for me. This was a great help, allowing me to get exactly what I needed and gave me the time to practice & get used to them. Throughout the years they've always accommodating & supported me, be it extensions to a tie or running buses for people to support at national finals. It never goes unappreciated.
Q3) What message of encouragement would you give to anyone aspiring to reach a commonwealth games?
A3) Always believe in yourself & never give up. Not making 2014 & 2018 were massive blows to me & I'll openly admit it knocked my confidence for a while & I had thoughts about stepping away from the elite programme. But, having made Birmingham, I am delighted I stuck it out and got the opportunity. To be able to do something you need to believe you can, so stick at it and work for it. And regardless of what else happens, wee button to the inside and you'll be fine!
Q4) You were part of the Lanarkshire South team that won the Andrew Hamilton Trophy (AHT) earlier in July, how did it feel to win the competition again especially after the 2-year break due to COVID?
A4) I've been fortunate to win the AHT on a few occasions now, but this year did feel a bit extra special. Despite all the upheaval around Bowls Scotland withdrawing from the BIBC series & some people claiming the AHT didn't have the same standing or meaning, it was great to see the same commitment from the guys in our South team that has always been there. The smiles from the players, families and supporters who still came along and enjoyed it made it every bit as special as the other wins. It has always been more than just a platform for players to be recognised & progress to playing for Scotland & long may the competition continue as we need more of the passion & excitement you see in a county game throughout the sport.
Q5) Amongst your wealth of bowling titles, where does the Games experience and this bronze medal achievement sit? How did the other competitions help prepare you for this multi-sport event?
Q5) Despite it not being a gold medal this summer like the Champion of Champion's or World Cup, it still very much ranks up there as one of my biggest achievements. The exposure that comes with a Commonwealth Games always makes it a larger event & experience. The fact it was in the UK was also a massive thing as it allowed my family & friends to come & support which they weren't able to do with the other events being in the southern hemisphere. Each win has its own place with me for a lot of different reasons, but this year really does mean a lot for everything that's gone before & to be able to celebrate it with my family and friends at the time.
Thanks to Iain for taking the time to share his experiences with us.