The 2013/2014 football season has come to a close. For most this means team outings and presentations before taking time off from the beautiful game. Thankfully the World Cup is on and following shortly after it’s Glasgow 2014. One young footballer though has already written his name into the Commonwealth Games history books.
Jaimie Purves of Tynecastle 1997’s was a lucky lad after being nominated through his school Preston Lodge High to be a Commonwealth Games Baton bearer. Not just a talented footballer, Jaimie was selected due to a combination of his efforts with Athletics and volunteering.
Jaimie admitted “Being nominated was a surprise especially given the competition from within the school. But I think the fact I’m involved with Performance Athletes in School (PAiS) perhaps gave me an edge.”
The programme created by East Lothian Council’s Sports Development Team is aimed at supporting the top athletes within the country such as Jaimie. It means he benefits from top class lecturers at Edinburgh Telford College, physiotherapy support, and coaching from Jamie Bowie who will represent Scotland at this year’s games.
Alongside his efforts and talents in football and athletics, Jaimie has also been giving up his time to help coach with Longniddry Villa.
“When I first heard about being selected I thought it was a joke to be honest” said Jaimie. “It was so unexpected. Once it was confirmed I was just ecstatic. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and everyone in my family was very proud.”
George Purves, Jaimie’s Dad who also coaches the Tynecastle team said “We couldn’t believe he had been picked. It was a very proud moment and it was really great for Jaimie.”
While the Tynecastle number seven may be used to performing in front of large crowds at Scottish Cup Finals and track events, even he admitted feeling some nerves ahead of his moment with the baton which has travelled across 70 Nations and Territories.
“I didn’t want to be the first one to drop it!” said Jaimie. “I was nervous at the start but once I had it in hand it was a great moment. We had been told to go out and enjoy it and they mentioned that it’s a once in a lifetime moment. It really was something else.”
One of Jaimie’s biggest supporters are his younger twin brothers. But Dad George admits the boys, while supportive, are also very competitive. “His brothers are into their football and running as well so I think they’ll be trying to top him now” he said. “I think they’ll need be a bearer for the Olympics or perform at the Games if they are to do that though!”
Celebrations followed within East Lothain and while photos capture the memory of the day nothing will beat that feeling according to Jaimie. “It really was special” he said. “It’s something I’ll remember for years to come and for the rest of my life. It’s a great highlight to look back on.”
While most of us will either watch from our TV’s or head along to a Commonwealth venue, Jaimie Purves will look back on the 2014 games more fondly than most. His name is etched in the Commonwealth Games’ history books and hopefully for Scotland it will be front of centre in 2018 when Jaimie will hopefully be competing in Australia.