Champion Viorel’s Games legacy

A North-east wrestling champion has unveiled a lasting legacy of the Commonwealth Games in his hometown.

Sunday, 22nd March 2015, 8:00 am
Friday 13th March 2015, Aberdeen, Scotland. To mark Legacy Week, Minister for Public Health Maureen Watt and Glasgow 2014 wrestling medallist Viorel Etko will be visiting pupils at Meldrum School. (Photo: Ross Johnston/Newsline Media)

Viorel Etko, who became the first wrestler in 20 years to win a medal for Scotland at last summer’s Games, took the wraps off the commemorative cycle stand at Meldrum School.

All Team Scotland Glasgow 2014 medallists nominated public places where stands in their medal colour would be installed.

Viorel, 37, was joined at the Oldmeldrum school by Minister for Public Health, Maureen Watt, and pupils, including his son Leon, 10, were on hand to help him unveil the bronze stand, awarded in honour of his success in the men’s freestyle wrestling.

The medallist said: “It was an honour to receive my cycle stand and nominate a location for it.

“I decided to donate it to my local school to show my gratitude to the community for their support throughout the games and to give kids in my area more opportunity to cycle by providing additional parking spaces for bikes.

“Cycling to and from school is a great way to introduce them to daily exercise.”

Viorel and his wife, former Scotland gymnast Laura Davies, run a local sports club teaching wrestling and gymnastics to more than 800 children a week.

The Commemorative Cycle Stands are being installed by Cycling Scotland along with Sustrans Scotland and Transport Scotland.

They are part of the new Legacy 2014 Active Travel Programme which aims to encourage people of all ages to take the first steps towards an active, healthier lifestyle.

Maureen Watt said: “It was great to meet Vio. He is a truly inspiring character.

“I hope the cycle stand will help to encourage others to follow in his footsteps and achieve great things, whether that’s in the field of sport or elsewhere.

“The cycle stands are also a practical way to encourage cycling and to build on the growing popularity of the sport, particularly in light of the fantastic cycling we saw in Glasgow last summer.”

Keith Irving, Cycling Scotland Chief Executive said: “People remember the gold postboxes from the London Olympics and these gold, silver and bronze commemorative cycle stands are a lasting reminder of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

“They help add to the necessary cycling facilities for the growing number of people enjoying riding a bike to leisure centres, schools, workplaces and shops.”

John Lauder, National Director of Sustrans Scotland, added: “The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was such an overriding success story that we want to ensure that it’s legacy lives on for many years to come.

“The installation of these legacy cycle stands is a perfect way to ensure that this is the case.”