Published: 25/07/2014 09:54 - Updated: 25/07/2014 10:08

Commonwealth thrill for Moray's Donald

 

Donald McIntosh, carrying the baton into Elgin's Cooper Park.
Donald McIntosh, carrying the baton into Elgin's Cooper Park.

'ONE of the proudest and most nerve-racking moments in my life’ was how Elgin-born Scotland shooting coach Donald McIntosh (right) described his key role in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday.

Donald was joined on the Celtic Park stage by disability athlete Libby Clegg, her guide, Mikhail Huggins, and wrestling official Victor Keelan as they delivered the oaths on behalf of athletes, coaches and officials.

With more than 40,000 people packed into the stadium and millions more watching on television, Donald admitted that the opening ceremony had been an anxious experience.

“It was a massive honour, and I was over the moon to be chosen,” he said.

“My little part was a bit daunting, and I was trying desperately not to forget the words.

“We had a dress rehearsal a couple of nights before the ceremony. With all the lights in the stadium, I couldn’t really see the crowd, which helped.”

Donald, whose daughter, Jen, is part of the Scottish team at the Glasgow games, is a seasoned Commonwealth Games campaigner, but admitted that he was blown away by the opening ceremony.

“It was an amazing reception for Team Scotland. This is my fourth Commonwealth Games, and the noise when we walked into the stadium was the loudest so far.”

Donald, who now lives in Falkirk, honed his skills at Elgin Miniature Rifle Club, where his late father, also Donald, was secretary of the Moray and Nairn County Association. He started prone shooting in 1978 at the Elgin club, aged just 12, and went on to compete internationally for the University of Edinburgh.

After missing out on selection for the 1994 and 1998 Commonwealth Games, he finally made the team for Manchester in 2002, where he finished fifth.

His wife, Shirley, was also a very successful shooter and won four Commonwealth Games medals, including gold and silver in the Victoria Games in 1994.

Now Team Scotland shooting manager and performance manager at Scottish Shooting, Donald started coaching in 2003 after retiring from competing.

He was head coach for Scotland at both the 2006 and 2010 Games, when the shooters won six gold, two silver and two bronze medals. He went on to become performance director for Scotland, as well as head rifle coach for Team GB at the 2012 Olympics.

His daughter became the most successful female athlete at a single games when she won two gold medals and a bronze at Delhi in 2010.

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