Winning a Commonwealth Games medal is no small feat. It’s a symbol of hard work, dedication, and excellence in one’s sport. However, for Scottish squash player Rory Stewart, his bronze medal from the Birmingham 2022 Games had an adventure of its own, one that involved late-night celebrations and a bit of panic.
Stewart, who partnered with Greg Lobban to secure a podium place in the doubles event, recently revealed a hilarious and somewhat nerve-wracking incident involving his Commonwealth Games medal. He recalls with a half-grin, half-wince that the medal almost slipped away from him. “I almost lost the medal,” confesses Stewart, recounting the story. “Aye, really. We took it out to the dancing to celebrate when we got back, and my friend woke up with it round his neck.”
Picture the scene: a group of friends, probably still buzzing from their success, out on the town with a Commonwealth Games medal, a genuine piece of sporting history. Stewart continues, “There was a wee bit of panic. But I think I always knew one of my friends had it. There must have been about eight or nine of us, and they were all trying it on, making up ridiculous sports and claiming that they’d won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games.”
The humor doesn’t stop there; his friends went to great lengths to create an elaborate ruse. “They were telling folk they’d won it in the pole vault, the 100 meters sprint… aye, right, an overweight guy thinking anyone would believe that.”
One can only imagine the laughter and bemusement that ensued that night. It’s the kind of epic story that makes all the hard work and dedication worth it, not just for Stewart but for anyone who’s ever strived for success.
For Stewart, participating in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham was a dream come true. He made his Games debut last summer, and just getting there felt like an achievement in itself. “Just getting there, my first Games, I was a bit touch and go whether I would make it or not,” he admits. “Knowing that it’s the biggest stage for our sport, I achieved just by getting there.”
But Stewart didn’t stop at simply getting there. He exceeded expectations, reaching the quarter-finals in the singles event. While the gold eluded him in the doubles, he takes pride in not crumbling on the biggest stage. “I don’t think I would have been able to live with myself if I’d blown that moment,” he reflects.
For athletes like Stewart, who often face the challenges of limited resources and support, the Commonwealth Games provided a stark contrast. He says, “Being a squash player, you’re sometimes lucky if you get a lift to the venue. Lucky if the club provides food for you. Going into a Commonwealth Games environment, with all the elite athletes, access to everything you needed, whether that was physio or just someone to talk to. Even just getting your dinner! That was the big thing for me, honestly. Having a big dining hall for everyone. When all that’s taken care of, it makes it so much easier to focus on competing.”
However, despite the memorable experience in Birmingham, there’s uncertainty about the future of the Commonwealth Games. Stewart is hopeful about his path forward in squash. He aims to break into the world’s top 40, a position that would secure his invitation to major tournaments on the world tour. From there, the possibilities are endless.
Stewart’s journey from a multi-sport kid to a top-level squash player has been marked by constant movement. He’s always on the move, from airports to hotels to squash courts, living the life of a dedicated athlete. He even admits to being a bit of a moaner during games but believes in letting frustrations out rather than keeping them in.
As he prepares for the Scottish Open, where he’s the top seed for the PSA Challenger Tour event, Stewart reflects on his travels and the ups and downs of the sport. “How do I deal with traveling? Not very well,” he humorously admits. “It obviously comes with the sport, everyone has to do it. Some up in first class and business class. Others, like myself, in the back of the plane.”
Stewart’s journey in squash has had its fair share of setbacks and doubts. He mentions France as a place where he’s had some not-so-pleasant experiences on the court. “Nothing against the place,” he clarifies, “but I’ve been in some not very nice towns there when I’ve played in not very nice clubs – and lost. I’ve found myself thinking: ‘Why am I doing this?'”
Yet, amid these challenges, there was a silver lining: the COVID-19 pandemic. It forced a pause in his career, and during that time, Stewart realized how much he missed the sport. “When we were allowed back, I put more effort into training consistently, built up a good level to play in tournaments again. I hit the ground running, and it’s been an upward spiral since then.”
Rory Stewart’s journey in squash is not just about medals and matches; it’s about the passion and resilience of a dedicated athlete who’s willing to chase his dreams, even when they take him on wild medal-chasing adventures in the wee hours of the morning. It’s a story that encapsulates the essence of sportsmanship and the thrill of the game.
As for the future, we can only imagine the tales and triumphs that await this determined athlete. One thing is for sure: whether it’s on the court or off, Rory Stewart’s journey promises to be as exciting as a wild night out with a Commonwealth Games medal around your neck.
In the world of squash and beyond, keep an eye out for Rory Stewart’s name, because his story is just beginning, and it’s bound to be a thrilling one.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Bronze Medal Celebration
Q: How did Rory Stewart almost lose his Commonwealth Games bronze medal?
A: Rory Stewart and his friends took his Commonwealth Games bronze medal out for a night of celebration, and at one point, one of his friends ended up wearing it around his neck. This led to a moment of panic as they realized the medal was temporarily misplaced during their festivities.
Q: What were Rory Stewart’s achievements at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham?
A: Rory Stewart had a remarkable debut at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. He not only participated but exceeded expectations by reaching the quarter-finals in the singles event and securing a bronze medal in the doubles event alongside his partner, Greg Lobban.
Q: How has the Commonwealth Games experience impacted Rory Stewart’s perspective on his squash career?
A: The Commonwealth Games experience provided Rory Stewart with a significant shift in perspective. It highlighted the stark contrast between the limited resources often available to squash players and the support and facilities offered at elite events like the Commonwealth Games. This exposure has motivated him to pursue higher rankings and compete in major tournaments on the world tour.
Q: What are Rory Stewart’s future goals in squash?
A: Rory Stewart’s future goals in squash include breaking into the world’s top 40 rankings, which would secure his invitation to major tournaments on the world tour. Beyond that, he sees endless possibilities for his career in the sport.
Q: How does Rory Stewart deal with the challenges of constant travel as a professional squash player?
A: Rory Stewart admits that he doesn’t deal with constant travel very well. Travel is an integral part of the professional squash circuit, and while some players enjoy luxuries like first-class or business-class travel, others, including Stewart, find themselves in economy class. Despite the challenges, he embraces the realities of his sport, including the less glamorous aspects of travel.
Q: What role did the COVID-19 pandemic play in Rory Stewart’s squash journey?
A: The COVID-19 pandemic forced a pause in Rory Stewart’s squash career. During this hiatus, he realized how much he missed the sport and used the time to train consistently and prepare for a return to competitive tournaments. This break served as a turning point in his career, and he experienced an upward trajectory upon resuming play.
Q: What can we expect from Rory Stewart in the future of his squash career?
A: Rory Stewart’s future in squash promises to be exciting and filled with potential. His determination and passion for the sport, combined with his recent successes, suggest that we can anticipate further achievements and memorable moments in his burgeoning squash career. Keep an eye out for his name in the world of squash and sportsmanship.
More about Bronze Medal Celebration
- Rory Stewart’s Commonwealth Games Bronze – Read more about Rory Stewart’s bronze medal win at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022.
- Rory Stewart’s Squash Journey – Explore Rory Stewart’s squash journey and his aspirations for the future in the sport.
- Commonwealth Games Official Website – Learn more about the Commonwealth Games, one of the biggest stages for athletes from around the world.
- Professional Squash Association (PSA) – Discover the latest news and updates from the world of professional squash and tournaments like the PSA Challenger Tour.
- Rory Stewart’s Instagram – Follow Rory Stewart on Instagram to stay updated on his squash adventures and career highlights.