Rio 2016: Which of record number of Scots for overseas Olympics could win medals?

Eilidh Doyle, Andy Murray and Katherine Grainger
Doyle, Murray and Grainger are among the leading Scots heading for Brazil

The selection of rugby sevens players Mark Bennett and Mark Robertson brings the total number of Scottish competitors heading to Rio for this summer's Olympic Games to 50.

It is the largest ever contingent of Scots in a Great Britain team for an overseas Olympics, surpassing the previous record of 31 in Beijing in 2008.

Scots will compete in 15 of the 42 sports in Rio.

There are defending champions in tennis star Andy Murray and rowers Heather Stanning and Katherine Grainger, the latter competing in her fifth Games at 40, and other returning medallists from London in canoeist David Florence and sailor Luke Patience.

Athletics boasts the largest contingent of Scots with 15 among the 80-strong track and field squad, the highest representation since 1908.

Scottish athletes in Team GB (15):
Eilidh Doyle - 400mH, 4x400m relayChris O'Hare - 1500m
Lynsey Sharp - 800mAndrew Butchart - 5,000m
Laura Muir - 1500mCallum Hawkins - marathon
Lennie Waite - 3,000m steeplechaseTsegai Tewelde - marathon
Steph Twell - 5,000mDerek Hawkins - marathon
Eilish McColgan - 5,000mChris Bennett - hammer
Laura Whittle - 5,000mMark Dry - hammer
Beth Potter - 10,000m

There are also eight Scottish swimmers - a third of the British team - and eight Scottish rowers, although two of those are travelling as reserves.

For 33 Scots, Rio will be their first Olympic experience.

As well as Grainger among the 17 who have competed at previous Games, fencer Richard Kruse will heading to his fourth Olympics, while this will be a third for Florence and swimmers Robbie Renwick and Hannah Miley.

David Florence
Florence is looking forward to his third Olympic experience

Sportscotland, the national agency for sport in Scotland, have set ambitious targets for Rio. The first - the largest number of Scots in the team for an 'away' Olympics - has already been met. Can the second - the most medals won by Scottish competitors at an overseas Games - also be achieved?

To do so, they will need to surpass the eight won in Sydney in 2000, while the record haul for Scots at any Games is 13 from London four years ago.

"I think we have between 15 and 20 medals 'hits' - in other words, they are in that medal zone," says Mike Whittingham, Director of High Performance at Sportscotland.

"I think we could have as many as 20% of those 50 Scots in serious medal contention, and probably nine or 10 sports where we could win medals.

"We want a best ever away Olympics and I think we're on track; I think we can get 10.''

So where might those Scottish medals come from in Rio?

It's not easy to predict medal winners at the best of times, but many Scots have been performing well in the build-up.

Andy Murray defends the singles title and will be full of confidence after a remarkable run of five consecutive finals, culminating in his second Wimbledon triumph.

The world number two also picked up a silver medal from the mixed doubles in London and this time he will be in doubles action with his brother Jamie. The Dunblane siblings combined to great effect in Britain's Davis Cup triumph last year and many of the regular top pairings will be split up in Rio.

In rowing, Stanning and Helen Glover have formed an outstanding partnership in the women's pair. The defending champions' unbeaten run stretches back to 2011. As well as Olympic gold, they have also won the last two World and European Championships together.

Grainger finally got her hands on an Olympic gold medal in 2012 - at the fourth time of asking after three silvers in the three preceding Games.

Scottish rowers in Team GB
Heather Stanning - women's pairKatherine Grainger - women's double scull
Alan Sinclair - men's pairAngus Groom - men's quad
Karen Bennett - women's eightSam Scrimgeour - lightweight men's reserve
Polly Swann - women's eightVicki Meyer-Laker - women's open-weight reserve

Her place on the team for Rio was far from assured, her new partnership with Vicky Thornley in the women's double scull only belatedly confirmed for Rio selection after a failed attempt to earn a place in the eight.

But what a fairytale it would be if Grainger put all that behind her and became Britain's most decorated female Olympian with a fifth medal.

Hurdler Eilidh Doyle has been in great form this season, setting a new personal best in the 400m event in winning her second Diamond League race of the season in Monaco last week.

Her 54.09 seconds is the sixth fastest time in the world this year.

The Commonwealth Games silver medallist booked her place with a dominant victory at the British Championships and is targeting a medal after consistently showing she can compete with the world's best.

The 29-year-old is also an important member of the 4x400m relay team.

Katie Archibald is working hard to battle back from an untimely knee injury just to make the women's track cycling pursuit team.

Katie Archibald
Britain had to settle for bronze at this year's World Championship when Archibald was injured

But the 22-year-old is confident the GB quartet - which includes defending champions Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell-Shand - "have a good shot" at claiming gold again in Rio.

Sailor Luke Patience has quite a qualification story to tell. The silver medallist from London was selected as part of Team GB, but his initial partner Elliot Willis was diagnosed with bowl cancer, meaning he had to re-qualify with Chris Grube in the 470 class.

Can Hannah Miley finally get her hands on an Olympic medal in the pool? The 26-year-old finished sixth in the 400m individual medley, perhaps her strongest event, in Beijing in 2008 and fifth in London four years ago, when she also finished seventh in the 200m IM and fifth as part of the women's 4x200m freestyle relay team.

Ross Murdoch qualified for the 100m breaststroke, rather than his more favoured 200m in which he struck gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and this year's European Championships.

Scottish swimmers in Team GB
Ross Murdoch - 100m breaststrokeHannah Miley - 200m & 400m IMs
Duncan Scott - 4 x 200m freestyle relayCamilla Hattersley - 800m freestyle
Craig Benson - 200m breaststrokeRobbie Renwick - 4 x 200m freestyle relay
Stephen Milne - 1500m freestyleDan Wallace - relay reserve

But expectations remain high for the 22-year-old, who has Commonwealth, World and European medals at the shorter distance.

Robbie Renwick returns for his third Games hoping to add an Olympic medal to his World, European and Commonwealth collection.

Robbie Renwick
Renwick was part of the 4x200m freestyle squad that won gold at last year's Worlds

A relative veteran at 27, he is joined in the 4x200m freestyle relay squad by Duncan Scott. The youngest Scot on the Olympic team, he only turned 19 in May but is already a world champion having featured at last year's event in Russia.

Golf's inclusion in the Olympics for the first time in 112 years has caused plenty of controversy, with a string of leading male players pulling out, citing concerns over the Zika virus.

But Scotland's Catriona Matthew, 46, has no such fears and the former Women's British Open champion joins England's Charley Hull in the GB team.

Other Scots in Team GB
David Florence - canoe slalom (C1 & C2)Andy Murray - tennis (singles)
Fiona Pennie - canoe slalom (K1)Jamie Murray - tennis (doubles)
Luke Patience - sailing (470 class)Colin Fleming - tennis (doubles)
Charlotte Dobson - sailing (49er class)Katie Archibald - cycling (team pursuit)
Jen McIntosh - shooting (50m rifle)Callum Skinner - cycling (team sprint)
Richard Kruse - fencing (foil)Grant Ferguson - mountain biking
Kirsty Gilmour - badminton (singles)Catriona Matthew - golf
Sally Conway - judo (-70kg)Mark Bennett (rugby sevens)
Grace Reid - diving (3m springboard)Daniel Purvis - gymnastics (reserve)
Mark Robertson (rugby sevens)

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