Scottish gymnastics hero Steve Frew hopes his fellow countrymen can win some medals at this Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow.
GLASGOW: Very few outside of Scotland know who Steve Frew is.
But in Scotland, the gymnast is hailed as a national hero following his brave exploits in the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Despite the limited funding for gymnastics 12 years ago, Frew created Scottish history when he won the country’s first gold in the men’s rings at the 2002 Manchester Games.
Since then, no Scottish gymnast has been able to win a gold medal in the two Games although Adam Cox bagged a bronze in the horizontal bar in 2006
After retiring from competition, Frew set up the Auchterarder Gymnastics Club in Perthshire – passing on his coaching skills regularly.
He also played a big part in helping Scotland win the bid to host the Commonwealth Games six years ago.
Now, the 41-year-old has thrown down the gauntlet to the Scottish gymnasts: “End the medal drought on home ground!”
The rhythmic gymnastics events begin on Thursday at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) and the artistic event on July 29.
What is really surprising is that Frew, who has represented Scotland and Britain for more than 100 times at various international gymnastics competitions for 20 years, still looks young and fit despite his age.
Frew, who competed in five Commonwealth Games since 1990 Christchurch, said that he is immensely proud of his success in the 2002 edition of the Games.
“No one gave me a ghost of a chance of returning with a gold. Even the lack of funding and competitions failed to stop me from creating history in gymnastics for my country,” said Frew, who retired after the 2006 Melbourne Games.
“But I’m also sad because since my significant victory, none from my country has been able to get on the podium.
“With more funding for gymnastics … and also the home ground advantage, I hope Scotland can end gymnastics’ 12-year medal drought.
“Nothing is impossible. You have to put your heart, soul and mind to achieve it,” added Frew, who is also a member of the Athletes Commission for Scotland.
Scotland will also be banking on 23-year-old Commonwealth Games debutant Daniel Purvis, who won a bronze in the men’s artistic team event for Britain in the 2012 London Olympics, to bag a medal in Glasgow. Scotland have named 12 gymnasts - five men and seven women – for the 20th edition of the Games.