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Wang Meng Meng
Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

Sports

Postcard from Glasgow: Little Braveheart melts Scottish hearts

The Straits Times | Wang Meng Meng | Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

Bronze medallist Scotland's Erraid Davies poses during the Women's 100m Breaststroke SB9 Medal Ceremony at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on July 27, 2014

The Tollcross Swimming Centre can be a mad house in the evenings when the finals take place.

Loud cheers and wolf whistles resonate around the pool and, in between races, the crowd will be fired up with singalongs.

They are known for their rousing rendition of Scottish folk-rock group The Proclaimers' hit single I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles).

But the loudest reception came on Sunday night for a very special swimmer.

At 13 years old, Erraid Davies became the youngest-ever medallist at the Commonwealth Games when she took the bronze in the women's para-sport 100m breaststroke in 1min 21.68sec, 2.32sec slower than the 21-year-old winner from New Zealand, Sophie Pascoe.

Diagnosed with a hip problem at the age of four, she was in a wheelchair until eight and swam as part of her rehabilitation.

Hailing from the Shetland Islands in Scotland's north-east coast, Erraid charmed the Tollcross crowd, and millions watching on television, with her sweet smile.

She later revealed: "I didn't know I was the youngest-ever medal winner. That is amazing.

"My mum and dad are here and I gave my mum a hug afterwards. I will take my medal to school and show my friends.

"They didn't even know I was coming here today. I didn't know how to tell them."

And as she walked up to receive her medal, a standing ovation greeted her and the entire Scottish swimming team formed a guard of honour for their little Braveheart.

Respect.

This article was published on July 29 in The Straits Times.

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