Gold Coast hopeful Haston still gets Glasgow goosebumps

Louise Haston (right) and Aileen McGlynn are hoping to add to their medal collection in Australia. (pic by Jeff Holmes)
Louise Haston (right) and Aileen McGlynn are hoping to add to their medal collection in Australia. (pic by Jeff Holmes)

South Queensferry cyclist Louise Haston headed out to Australia this week for her second Commonwealth Games.

The 37-year-old will again act as pilot to Aileen McGlynn in the para-sport tandem and sprint at the Gold Coast.

The duo won silvers in both events in Glasgow four years ago, with the sprint silver memorably providing Team Scotland’s first medal of the Games.

And Louise says the memory of the incredible atmosphere at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome remains as strong as ever.

She said: “I still get goosebumps as soon as you just mention Glasgow.

“For me that was probably my first major competition and my first major Games and the crowd was just amazing. I don’t know if anything would ever beat that.

“After Glasgow I had every intention of finishing but that was pretty much short-lived.

“As soon as we found out that tandem was going to be in the Gold Coast Aileen decided that she was up for that as well.

“We wanted to give that the best shot we could going forward and were over the moon to be selected.”

Louise was originally an athlete but switched to cycling after an injury.

She said “Because I trained at Meadowbank the velodrome was just at the back of the car park and I decided I quite fancied giving that a shot.

“So I wandered round after a training session and one of the coaches, Alistair Watson, just chucked me on a bike, chucked me on a set of rollers and that was that.”

It’s been a rewarding move. As well as their Glasgow silvers Louise and Aileen, who is partially sighted, have also won silver and bronze medals at the World Championships, while Louise also rides individually and has won Scottish and British Masters Championships medals.

Naturally they would love to add to their medal collection Down Under - but acknowledge it’s going to be tough.

Louise said: “Realistically you’ve got the English pairing Sophie [Thornhill] and Helen [Scott] and they are just a class above everybody at the moment.

“They are full-time funded athletes so it makes it very difficult to get anywhere near then and they are just a perfect partnership, really really good, well drilled.

“Australia are going to send a cracking team, they are very strong as well.

“You always want to go and do the best you can and we’ll still aim to get the best possible position but a bronze is probably more realistic.”