Gregor Townsend: a soundbite

Euan McTear

After GUSA’s Sport and Wellbeing Week success earlier this year, and with Glasgow Commonwealth Games rapidly approaching, it seemed only right to have a (quick) chat to one of Scotland’s most influential sportsmen, the former Rugby Union star and Head Coach of the Glasgow Warriors, Gregor Townsend. Glasgow Guardian discuss some of his views on sport and the legacy of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.

Guardian: Sport and wellbeing are intrinsically linked – how can sport, on both a competitive and recreational level, affect young people?

Townsend: It’s massively important for young people especially, because if they can get in to sport or master movement and skills at a young age, they’ve got more chance of staying in that sport at an older age, and we all know that recreation and sport is important to our health. So if we have that culture of getting active, then we’re going to be healthier and live longer. But also, sport provides more than just health benefits; you come together as a group, whether it’s in a team, or whether it’s just a group of people going out for a cycle, or even dancing together.

There are so many benefits to society by being involved in sport. Then on the other side, there’s just watching sport, so with the Commonwealth Games coming up, it’s really inspirational watching people achieve things – we saw it with Andy Murray in the summer last year and the affect that had on the country, and then the Olympic Games the year before that.

Guardian: What are your thoughts on the upcoming Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and how do you think it will create a new ‘legacy’ for Glasgow?

Townsend: We’ve already got fantastic facilities in the Emirates and the Velodrome – you’re going to get a massive sporting event in the city, which is going to make the city look great. There will be Scottish people doing well, so you get the country behind it.

I think there’s been a big change in the last ten years; when the Commonwealth Games was on in Edinburgh [in 1986], the whole nation wasn’t behind it. Then, with the Olympics in London and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, you can tell, with the amount of volunteers getting involved, and the amount of tickets sold, there’s a real buzz behind it. I think it’ll be a great success.