Scotland’s athletes are now under starter’s orders for Glasgow 2014, with the official Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) selection period to qualify for Team Scotland opening at the start of April 2013.

Athletes from the 17 sports on the Games programme will have just over a year to produce the necessary performances to lay claim to a coveted place on the Team, for what promises to be an amazing home Games. What makes it even more special is the fact that the Commonwealth Games is the only multi-sport event where athletes get to compete for Scotland as a nation in its own right.

Already there are indications of excellent early season form, with 11 athletes in three sports having performed to agreed selection standard on one occasion. This includes marathon runners Derek Hawkins, Susan Partridge and Hayley Haining who all finished inside the standard at last Sunday’s London Marathon, completing the first step towards selection. In addition, lawn bowls have already secured their full quota of 10 athlete places following outstanding results at last December’s World Championships.

Speaking at a press conference in Glasgow last week, CGS Chief Executive and Team Scotland Chef de Mission, Jon Doig, explained how the selection policy will operate: “Competing for Scotland at a Commonwealth Games is a highlight of any athlete’s career and the added opportunity to compete at a home games is a privilege experienced by very few athletes.

“Over the last three Games cycles, Team Scotland has had increasing success, largely as a result of a robust, clear, consistent selection policy and a strong team ethos, backed with excellent high performance support from sportscotland. I can confirm that this approach will continue so that each athlete selected will be assured of the support of their team mates in the knowledge that all have deserved the honour of representing Scotland at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“The two aims of the policy are to ensure that Scotland selects a team that performs with distinction in 2014, and has its most successful Games ever in terms of medals won.”

With the clear aim for Team Scotland being to have its largest and most successful team ever in Glasgow, and with many of our athletes having experienced first-hand the excitement of a home Olympic Games in London last year, with its venues full of a passionate home crowd, CGS is planning to replicate that national feel good factor here in Scotland.

To highlight the start of the build-up to the Games for Team Scotland, CGS has launched its new public engagement campaign ‘Go Scotland!’ The campaign aims to raise the awareness of the 17 sports in the Games and give greater profile to the athletes aiming for selection to the team.

Calling for people to back the campaign, CGS Chairman Michael Cavanagh said: “Today marks the start of the journey to Glasgow 2014 for Scotland’s athletes as they strive to meet the agreed selection standards for Team Scotland and we are greatly encouraged by the performances so far.

“The athletes greatly value the support of their family and friends, but to know that they have the additional backing from the Scottish public as a whole, would mean a lot to them, just as it did to Team GB in London last year. This is why we have launched this campaign today to encourage everyone across the length and breadth of the country to actively support us in our quest for success in Glasgow and share our journey to the Games.”

Sport Minister Shona Robison said: “This is an exciting time for Team Scotland and all Scottish athletes who have been in training for the Games for years - now it’s crunch time. The Team has all the ingredients to succeed next year, with outstanding facilities, high standards of coaching and an extra £1 million Scottish Government funding this year for elite sport. Team Scotland will be the strongest and best prepared team possible and I want to see everyone in Scotland get behind all of our athletes and sign up for the Go Scotland! campaign. Together we can boost Team Scotland to win gold and deliver the best ever Commonwealth Games.”

David Grevemberg, Chief Executive of Glasgow 2014, said: “The passion and enthusiasm of home support for Team Scotland will be a defining element of a successful Commonwealth Games for Glasgow and Scotland.

“This is a real opportunity for people in communities across Scotland to start connecting with a new generation of home-grown sporting heroes and heroines and share the journey with them towards success at our home Games.”