The names of famous alumni of the University of St Andrews just roll off the tongue. Prince William and Kate Middleton are at the forefront of everyone’s mind while Alex Salmond and Hazel Irvine also fly the flag for the university town. Despite a token claim to have educated Sir Chris Hoy (he transferred to Edinburgh in 1996), however, there is a lack of highly successful sportsmen and women.
That said, everything could all change within a month. Sarah Henderson, a graduate of the University, has recently been selected to compete at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games to represent Team Scotland. The keen shooter will take part in the 50m prone and the three positions rifle competitions.
Ms Henderson says she can’t wait to take part in the Games and fulfil what has been a long-held dream. She said: “I’ve wanted to shoot for Team Scotland at the Commonwealth Games since I was 15 so it’s a real dream come true for me to achieve selection this summer. It’s been a lot of hard work over the years and I’m just delighted to have been selected.”
Any Commonwealth Games are bound to be an unforgettable experience but Ms Henderson believes being able to compete in her own backyard will be truly fantastic, both for her and her many supporters. “The fact that it’s a home Games makes it extra special,” she said.
“Most of my friends and family have never had an opportunity to see me shoot, so it’s great to be able to share my Games experience with them. It’ll give me an extra boost to know they’re cheering right behind me during my matches!”
She can be rest assured the whole of the St Andrews family will be with her all the way.
She gives a lot of credit to SportScotland, which has given her great support over the past 18 months. Now, the only thing left to do is compete. Though she is heading into the Games in a seemingly relaxed manner, Ms Henderson would still love to achieve a medal-position finish. “I will give it everything I’ve got and do my best to come away with a medal.”
In danger of jinxing any success it would be best not to offer the ‘what ifs?’ of a potential victory – but there is a successful sportswomen’s shaped hole in the list of St Andrews alumni, and there will be many hoping Ms Henderson can fill it.