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Rio Olympics 2016 - 28. January 2008.

London ambassador attacks Scottish Government

She claimed in an interview published today in Scotland on Sunday the plan to merge the Scottish Institute of Sport (SIS) into the sportscotland quango was "soul-destroying" and accused ministers of a "knee-jerk" move motivated only by "money and politics".

The move, announced last week, means that the SIS will now operate within sportscotland, the body that seeks to boost development of sport across the country.

Robertson says she fears the focus on excellence fostered at the SIS will be lost, with Scotland's chances of winning more gold medals at the Olympics in Beijing and London, and at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, threatened as a result.

Her attack follows the outspoken comments by BBC broadcaster Dougie Donnelly, who was sacked last week as chairman of the SIS.

Robertson told Scotland on Sunday: "Prior to the SIS, there wasn't the expertise or the facilities within Scotland and a lot got lost in the British system.

"This was something for Scottish athletes.

"It helped them in that transition from regional and youth level to the Olympic team.

"If you speak to the athletes like (curling champion] Rhona Martin, the work that they did with the institute directly led to their medals.

"It was internationally recognised too.

"A lot of other countries were using the models."

"We were beginning to see some results.

"Coming into an Olympic year and then to London in four years' time and then the Commonwealth Games, it was a tremendous opportunity for Scotland and sport in general and now it seems we've lost that.

"Why would you change something that is working? It wasn't like the results weren't coming.

"It seems a backward step at a time when we can really capitalise on things.

"We've got home Olympics and home Commonwealth Games, and Scottish athletes have a bit of pride about themselves.

"A lot of that is to do with the work of the Institute.

"The nice thing for me about it was, because it had autonomy, it could make a difference really quickly.

"If an athlete needed something or was injured, it could react very quickly.

"I can't imagine how it is going to be part of sportscotland

""With this move it looks like they don't want to make success happen. It isn't a priority any more – sporting success for Scotland.

"There was no consultation with the athletes or the Institute.

"I feel really sorry for the people who set it up.

"We are passionate about Scottish success and passionate about the group of athletes.

"This is soul-destroying.

"We were lucky to have that passion and now we've just killed it."

The full article can be read at http://heritage.scotsman.com/latestnews/Scots-robbed-of-a-sporting.3691500.jp.

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