Wrestling Robertson twins buoyed by Glasgow Games

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Feature: Wrestling twins Donna and Fiona Robertson

"It's not WWF, it's not your Saturday afternoon Big Daddy stuff," explains Fiona Robertson.

"It's Olympic freestyle wrestling. It's one of the oldest sports."

Fiona is used to describing her sport to people. Many are taken aback when she talks about what's involved: chokes, throws, holds and submissions.

She and her twin sister Donna have taken a break from a punishing session on the mats at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow's east end.

The 44-year-olds are training six days a week to hone their skills for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The pair have represented Scotland before at the Games, at judo; and each has won a medal.

Fiona continues: "Donna won a bronze in Auckland and I won a bronze in Manchester so we're hoping to gain a medal in another sport.

"We'd be honoured to do that. We won't have any easy fights but our goal is to medal."

Fiona and Donna enjoyed the outdoors while growing up in Campbeltown in Kintyre. They spent their time running, cycling and canoeing -before discovering judo. The pair were hooked.

Judo was a demonstration sport at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 1986, and the twins, competing at the same weight, had to fight one another for a place in the Scotland team.

Donna came out on top in that one and again when they had to engage in a fight-off for a place at the Auckland Games four years later.

The next time judo featured at the Games was 2002, when Fiona got the upper hand and won selection.

They say they have not "officially retired" as judoka, but they made the switch to Olympic freestyle wrestling two years before the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.

Within a year of taking up the sport they were competing against European and world medallists. They soon became aware of how much they would need to improve to challenge for medals in Glasgow.

"We felt after Delhi that we could do better and gain experience from going abroad and competing," says Donna, who works as a lifeguard.

"That was our aim from 2010 and especially with Glasgow getting the Games."

For Fiona, wrestling represented a new challenge.

"It gave us a focus to train for something rather than going to the gym to fit into the same clothes," she jokes.

The prospect of competing for Scotland in front of a home crowd is what provides them with immediate motivation, but they give the impression that once the Games are over they will be far from a spent force.

"We know we're in with a chance, because everybody is," says Donna of their medal prospects.

"If you make the team you have proved that you should be there. If you perform well on that day, to your potential, your chances are certainly high.

"We certainly don't think of age as being a limitation to our performance."

Gym worker Fiona adds: "To us, age is just a number.

"If we still feel fit and our mind and body are willing, then there's no reason why age should come into it.

"I get butterflies even when I go to training, never mind competing. It's how I know I've still got the hunger to compete. It still means something to me."

Donna says sport is the focus of the duo's lives and that their day jobs merely pay the bills, allowing them to continue competing.

The Commonwealth Games in Australia's Gold Coast in 2018 might be a step too far. Instead, they may focus on judo masters events or encouraging more women to take up wrestling.

"We've never planned when we're going to retire," says Donna.

"I think we'll just wake up one day and say 'we've had enough'."

If they could do so with a medal from the Glasgow Games on the mantelpiece, that day will be free from feelings of regret.

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