Edinburgh rower Amy Newton recently had the opportunity to visit the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as part of the Team Scotland Achieve 2022 Programme.

The Achieve programme, developed by Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) in partnership with the Team Scotland Youth Trust, provides talented young athletes and coaches from across a range of sports with the opportunity to get behind the scenes of a major games with the support of an experienced mentor, as well as providing a range of workshops aimed at educating and inspiring the next generation.

Scottish Rowing nominated Amy for this opportunity following her hard work and dedication to the sport over the past 12 months.  The George Heriot’s School rower, who represented the GB Rowing Team across the 2021/22 season, has captured her some of her thoughts from the Birmingham visit in the form of a short blog below.



We started off the trip with a 6 hour bus journey to Birmingham. It was a really good time to get to know and chat with the other people in my group. When we arrived in Birmingham we went straight to our accommodation (the Maltings) and had around an hour to unpack. After that we walked through Birmingham to Scotland House, which was great! At Scotland house we got our kit which was super exciting and sat around in the restaurant for a few hours with some Scottish athletes. We then went to our first sport of the games which was Scotland vs Pakistan in the mens hockey which Scotland unfortunately lost 2-1. 



On Thursday Morning we had our first workshop on Handling Pressure, where we met Scotland’s women’s football captain, Rachel Corsie. Hearing about her experiences of dealing with pressure was very insightful. Hearing about how the other athletes deal with pressure within their own sports was also very interesting. That afternoon we took the train out to see the lawn bowls where we saw Scotland beat South Africa in a match. We got dinner and had the option to stay for more, so half of my group stayed to watch some more and then half of us went back to Scotland house. On the walk back we passed the main ticket office and decided to see if we could get tickets on any other sports and the only tickets that were available were to para powerlifting. We didn't know what to expect going to watch it, but it ended up being one of my favourite sports and there were a few Scottish athletes competing so it was really fun to be able to support them.



In the morning we got a tour of the Scotland performance centre and seeing the training and recovery areas. Hearing about the logistics of organising and bringing all the equipment to the one building was really impressive. We then were supposed have a tour of the athlete village but unfortunately there had been a security breach earlier in the day so it was cancelled. With the afternoon free and nothing planned, we went to the ticket office and managed to get tickets to the netball. The venue was pretty much sold out so there was a great atmosphere and whilst we had to leave before the end of the match it was still a really great sport to see.



We started off the day by doing media training. This consisted of us having to sit down on a sofa with a mic on and then we were filmed answering the questions that our group mentors asked us. With some people in my group coming from combat sports, there were some controversial questions about whether these sports are safe for children and what we can do to make them more accessible. It was a quite lively session where you had to think on your feet. Later on in the day we headed off to watch the wrestling and with not many of us having a clue about how wrestling works, it was very entertaining and we had loads of fun watching it.



On Sunday morning we had to pack up and be ready to leave after breakfast.  The bus took us to the final sport we were watching which was athletics. When we arrived at Alexander Stadium the mens triple jump was happening.  Over the course of the morning we saw the mens and womens 100m, the mens and womens 100m hurdles, the mens and womens 400m, the mens 10k race walk and the womens javelin. With Sunday being the finals day, the stadium was completely sold out and all of the finals were extremely close. It was really cool to be able to see some new games records being set and one of the best things was being able to see the athletes being so proud to represent their home country.

I really enjoyed the whole experience of going to the commonwealth games through the achieve programme. I met lots of new and interesting people, saw lots of new sports that I wasn't familiar with, learnt lots and would highly recommend the experience!