Last night the majority of the athletes from the Gold Coast, including family members who play such a crucial role, gathered for a small athlete's reception at the Crannog in Stirling, before going on to a reception hosted by the First Minister for all of Team Scotland.
This was the perfect opportunity to present the 2018 winner of the Bob Aitken Service to Shooting Award, Donald McIntosh, with this award in front of the athletes he has worked so closely with over the last Commonwealth Games cycle.
Donald McIntosh is a true great in the world of shooting, with medal success as an international competitor for Scotland and now a renowned coach of athletes involved at Commonwealth, World and Olympic level.
Donald has been involved in this sport for nearly 40 years taking up shooting in 1978 and becoming a prominent member of EU Rifle Club while at the University of Edinburgh, gaining a Half-Blue in 1986/87 and a Full Blue in 1987/88. In 1988 he won the British Universities’ 3P Individual Championship. He later helped to form the EU Alumni Rifle Club.
He won his first international cap in 1989 and went on to be capped 59 times in his competitive career, ranking him 7th in the all-time list of Scottish caps.
He represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Championships in 1997, 1999 and 2001 as well as the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002. At the Commonwealth Championships in 1999 and again in 2001, he was a Gold medallist in the 50m Rifle 3P Pairs event. He has also been the Scottish Champion in 10m Air Rifle, 50m 3P, and 50m Prone events. Donald was inducted into the Scottish Smallbore Rifle Hall of Fame in 2007 in recognition of his shooting performances. However, this is where Donald’s story starts rather than ends.
Following his competitive career, he began coaching in 2003 and is now a pre-eminent force in the success of Scottish and British shooting. Athletes with whom he has worked have won numerous medals at the European Championships, the U21 World Championships, World Cups, the Commonwealth Championships and the Commonwealth Games.
He was a coach for Team GB at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games and Team Manager for Scotland’s shooters at the Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. He has also been the Shooting Performance Manager for twelve years and, over the course of the last three Commonwealth Games, has been responsible for nineteen medals for Scotland in shooting. There is no doubt that over the time Donald has been involved in the programme, athletes in the sport of shooting are now better funded and better supported than ever before, and it is largely thanks to all his hard work and dedication.
Donald has always seen his roles representing Scotland, whether as an athlete or behind the scenes, as a privilege and his desire to see Scotland medal on the world stage is not just driven by a professional desire to succeed, but a deep routed pride and passion for his country.
However, clearly one of Donald (and his wife Shirley’s) greatest and proudest achievements are their daughters, Jennifer and Seonaid. They have followed Donald and Shirley into the sport and have been coached by Donald with great success. In 2014, Jennifer succeeded her mum Shirley as Scotland’s most decorated Commonwealth Games athlete with a total of 5 medals. Not to be left behind, Seonaid has followed suit and at the recent Games in the Gold Coast, she came home with two bronze medals to open her Commonwealth Games medal account. In 2017 they came home with three Gold medals between them from the 2017 European Championships in the 3P, Prone and Team Rifle competitions, a first for Scotland.
At the end of April, Donald is stepping down as the Performance Programme Manager having guided Scotland’s shooters through twelve incredible years and a further six medals at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast. Shooting is in Donald’s blood and there is no doubt he will still be involved in the sport in some capacity but we felt this was a suitable time to recognise all Donald has done for the sport, both in Scotland and on the world stage by presenting him with the Bob Aitken Service to Shooting Award in 2018.
To demonstrate the strong connection Donald has developed with the athletes, there was a second presentation on the night, as the athletes, led by his daughters Jen and Seonaid, also presented Donald with a framed Team Scotland top, signed by all the athletes, to commemorate his last Commonwealth Games as Programme Manager.
About the Bob Aitken Service to Shooting Award
Following Bob Aitken’s death in October 2016, Scottish Target Shooting wanted to recognise the fantastic contribution which Bob made to the sport of Target Shooting in both Scotland and further afield. We have decided that a fitting celebration of Bob’s contribution to Target Shooting in Scotland would be to have an award in his name – the Bob Aitken Service to Shooting Award – in recognition of people who have served the sport over a number of years, just as Bob did. We feel that this is a fitting way of remembering all Bob has done for our sport on a yearly basis and using this to also recognise the service of others. The first presentation of the award was made in 2017.
Find out about Bob and who won the award in 2017 using the link below: