MICHAEL Gilligan is supremely confident he has what it takes to win a Commonwealth Games medal this week.
But the Doveridge Sports Club star knows it will be a tough challenge as he prepares to represent England on Friday.
“Being selected to represent Team England at the Commonwealth Games is a massive honour for me after all the year’s hard work I have put in,” said the 25-year-old.
“I am going to Glasgow confident of coming away with a medal.
“It has been a hectic few months for me; I’ve been competing in Munich, Kazahstan and Hungary lately.
“I’m ready for Glasgow and will have great support from my family, too.”
Gilligan, who first began shooting at the age of 13, got into the sport by accident after accompanying a friend to the shooting range at Doveridge.
He has since worked his way through the international ranks and this will be his first Commonwealth Games.
He said: “I’m confident of coming away with a medal. But the competition will be strong, especially from the Cypriots, Scots and Australia.”
Meanwhile, Adam Peaty’s coach, Mel Marshall, says the Uttoxeter swimmer has a great chance of a medal at the Commonwealth Games this weekend – but that people should not forget how young he is.
The 19-year-old talent enters his first major international competition as one of England’s major medal hopes, but Marshall says he remains unfazed by his status as one of the country’s major breaststroke talents.
She said: “Adam has been stunning over the last year.
“But the nation shouldn’t forget that he’s still only 19.
“He has probably ten more years at the top level.
“I’m not damping down thoughts of what he might achieve because he has a safe platform for the future and I’m very proud of what he has done so far.
“In sport, you can never be sure what’s going to happen, and that’s why it is the most special thing on earth.
“You have to put yourself forward and, if you have the ability and have put in the work, go for it.
“If you’re one of those who have made it, it’s fantastic, but behind every champion there are a thousand broken hearts.
“As far as Adam is concerned, and the people he will go up against, it could go to anybody.
“This is really his first major international but his preparation has gone well and he is a good racer who loves competition.”
Marshall has a cupboard full of international swimming honours to her credit, including six medals from the 2006 Commonwealth Games, but she says those achievements are topped by the fact that she has coached two swimmers for the Games in Glasgow.
Marshall, who joined the City of Derby club almost six years ago, is now seeing life from the coach’s perspective – and it is a much different view to that of the swimmers themselves.
She said: “The two things are quite different. For the athletes, this is often the nicest period. They have done all the hard work and they are just looking forward to the competition.
“For a coach this is the most stressful time. When your work is done on the poolside, you continue to think about the future and what comes next. This is an eight-year project with long gaps in between.
“It is completely different in that way but I still get the same tremendous buzz.
“It is actually more satisfying but the stress level is very high. The job of the coach is to take on the stress but give out an air of calm on the surface.”