Friday, 10 June 2016

Look out Rio, here comes my hotshot cousin of Oz

From today's Daily Record

first met my cousin Alec Potts on a scorched playing field in the Melbourne suburbs.

Walking across the yellowed pitch with his grandfather, my emigre second cousin Ivor MacRae from Lewis, I remember our feet kicking up the dust.

Australia was in the grip of a drought but Alec seemed impervious to the heat.

The teenager stood there wielding a technical-looking bow, firing arrow after arrow down the field, every one a bulls eye. Here was a very talented young man. 

Eight years on my cousin Alec is heading to the Rio Olympics as part of the Australian men’s archery team.

It is an amazing achievement for someone who has competed internationally for only two years. Alec shot his personal best to make it to the three-man Rio team.

Rio’s a long way from his English childhood and his mother’s Scottish roots.

When his parents, Shona and Ian, moved back to Melbourne from Kent in 2007 they tried all kinds of ways to help their Anglicised boy fit into Aussie culture.

Remembering his obsession with England’s mediaeval castles they suggested to Alec he take up archery. He turned up at his instructor’s house with home-made arrows asking for help to stick the feathers on. The rest a quiver of history.

Actually, the rest is incredible dedication by Alec and his family to get to the peak of an athlete’s career.

The Scottish cousins will be rooting for Potts of Melbourne and Bayble, and Ibrox has a claim on him too as Shona grew up there. Look out for Australia’s “Robin Hood” at Rio.

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