Sporting Chance – Daniel Mainland and Catriona Nicol

Completing the series on sportsmen and women who are heading off to the island games in Åland at the end of this month are table tennis player Daniel Mainland and windsurfer Catriona Nicol.

Daniel Mainland
Age: 18
Birthplace: Gilbert Bain Hospital, Lerwick
Medal tally: None to date

A successful island games in Åland would be … If the table tennis team play to their highest ability. That would be the most satisfying as I am going as the youngest team manager. Personally, if I get a few close games with the favourites and beat the players I narrowly lost out to in Rhodes that would be perfect.

I mainly got into table tennis because … It was really down to primary school PE. The association had a big drive to try and bring new blood into the game and I thought I would give it ago. It was also the atmosphere that my coach, Chris Graham, brought to the game that made me determined to keep playing.

My best achievements so far have been … I have only competed in one games so hopefully the best achievements are yet to come.

A way of improving table tennis would be … To get more people involved again. Before 2005 the association was really competitive. However, numbers have dropped since then so it would be great to see it regenerated.

Currently I most admire … Anyone who is willing to give everything a go, people who show real commitment and determination to succeed.

My main ambitions for the future are … To play well in Åland, improve my ranking within the Scottish ranks and to go on to university to study sport in some shape or form.

In my spare time away from table tennis I like to … Try and relax, meet up with friends and give different sports a go to keep the desire to go back on the table.

Musically I like to listen to … Just about anything and everything. I listen to different music depending on what I’m up to.

I like to read … Well I haven’t had much time to do much reading recently. School books have been the main material I’m afraid. However, it’s usually autobiographies and of course The Shetland Times.

And watch … My family would say that Sky Sports News is always on, but I like to watch some comedy as well if given the chance.

The best films I’ve seen are … I just can’t decide. It would have to be comedies though.

My favourite actors/actresses are … Adam Sandler and good old Norman Wisdom.

My pet hates include … People who show little commitment to anything or say they have busy lives but really don’t.

My favourite food and drink is … Roast lamb with all the trimmings and fresh orange and lemonade.

The best country I have visited so far is … That’s a hard one, either France or Spain.

I would most like to meet … Sir Alex Ferguson, whose success as a football manager is outstanding.

If I won millions on the lottery I would … Travel the world. I intend on travelling some day so it would give me no excuse.

I would also build a dream house somewhere near to where I live just now as I just love the scenery.

In my wildest dreams, the ideal way of spending a day/night would be … To wake up to the sun rising on a warm (but not too hot) day. Have breakfast with Ally McCoist to start the day off with a laugh, play table tennis with the world’s best before relaxing with friends on a beach in Australia over a barbecue.

Anything to add … I would like to take this opportunity to thank my coach Chris Graham who has always been encouraging throughout my progress. My training partner, Lynda Flaws, must also get a mention as she is the one who trains week in week out with me. I would also like to quickly advertise the Shetland Table Tennis Championships which will be held at Clickimin on 21st June. Registration is at 10.30am and everyone is welcome to come along and give it a shot.

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Catriona Nicol
Age: 19
Birthplace: Lerwick
Medal tally: None

A successful island games in Åland would be … If I manage to complete each race (preferably not in last place) I would consider it a success, especially since I haven’t too much experience on the particular race equipment that will be getting used there. Getting back in one piece would probably be a “success” as well!

I mainly got into windsurfing because … Of family connections. My uncle is one of the instructors of the windsurfing club and was keen for me and my sister to give it a go, which we did, and still thoroughly enjoy.

My best achievements so far have been … Going faster while out on the water and overtaking people who have been windsurfing longer than I have.

A way of improving windsurfing in Shetland would be … To have more people aware of the club (which meets in Brae, beginners’ nights on a Wednesday) and interested to give it a go as opposed to being worried about getting wet or wiping out, which is all part of the fun.

Currently I most admire … I’m afraid I can’t answer this one.

My main ambition for the future is … Outdoor work would be great, anything water-based which involves taking people out on the water like coasteering, canoeing, windsurfing – even swimming. Teaching the basics and seeing how people manage can be quite satisfying, especially to see them getting it right after you have shown them how to do a particular skill. And then something indoors when the weather is particularly cold.

In my spare time away from windsurfing I like to … Do many different things. I enjoy painting, reading, canoeing, swimming and playing the cello.

Musically I like to listen to … I’m happy to listen to pretty much anything now though I was a bit more selective a few years ago.

I like to read … Fantasy mostly, something with a bit of mystery to it, it usually just depends what mood I am in.

And watch … Friends and programmes like Supersize v Superskinny, Last Man Standing and Frasier.

The best films I’ve seen are … Recently I enjoyed Twilight, Inkheart and City of Ember, although there are that many films that I have enjoyed that I really couldn’t pick out a favourite.

My favourite actors/actresses are … I don’t have any.

My pet hates include … Litter, and people leaving things on chairs, anything, whether it is clothes, books, boxes … chairs are for sitting on.

My favourite food and drink is … Honey and fruit from the garden would certainly be among the top on my list.

The best country I have visited so far is . . . Probably Iceland. It was just so different from anywhere else that I have been and when we were there we were out camping and going over dirt track roads in four by fours. It was just so much fun.

I would most like to meet …I don’t know.

If I won millions on the lottery I would … Probably share it out among my close family. Nobody needs “millions” of money and even splitting it would mean that there was plenty left over to do things that I wanted to do.

In my wildest dreams, the ideal way of spending a day/night would be … I don’t know, too many possibilities.

Anything to add … That was a corny list of questions!


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