CRAIG CARFRAY’S Commonwealth Games dream has been well over a decade in the making. 

The weightlifter has been hit with disappointment after disappointment, so much so that he was sure that Birmingham 2022 was going to be his last tilt at making it into Team Scotland

There is, after all, only so many blows a man can take. 

But his perseverance has paid off. 

After missing out on the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2008, Carfray then suffered the disappointment of failing to be selected for Team Scotland in both 2014 and 2018. 

But finally, he has made it. 

The 30-year-old has been included in Team Scotland’s five-strong weightlifting squad for Birmingham 2022, which begins in less than three months, and he admits that after such a tumultuous journey to reach this point, he couldn’t be 

“It’s been such a rollercoaster to get to this point so, as much as anything, it’s a relief to make the team because I felt under a lot of pressure,” he says.  

“The older you get, the longer it goes on of not making the Games, the more you question yourself and wonder am I good enough?  

“So it’s such a relief to finally make it.” 

Carfray, of the renowned Kilmarnock Weightlifting Club which has produced numerous Team Scotland lifters over the years, admits that of all the attempts he has made to reach the Commonwealth Games, this time around was his most turbulent preparation. 

Going into the British Championships earlier this year, he knew he had to perform well to secure his place in Team Scotland but after doing sizeable chunks of his training in his garden due to the pandemic, as well as turmoil in his private life, he admits his mindset was far from perfect. 

And added to that, there was the pressure of knowing this was his last chance at making a Commonwealth Games. 

“I went into the British Champs and had all my eggs in one basket – it was a lot of pressure and it all came down to getting it right on the day,” the HGV mechanic says. 

“I’m 30 years old and it’s a big commitment to do everything I need to do when you don’t get paid a penny for it so I felt like if I didn’t make these Games, that’d be it for me.  

“And I went into that competition probably in the worst place ever in terms of my personal life because I’m going through divorce so it wasn’t ideal, to say the least. 

“I was in good shape physically but mentally, I was probably in one of the lowest points ever in my life because of everything that was going on and so to make that total, it made everything in my life feel so much better. I was just overjoyed.” 

Growing up in the west of Scotland, Carfray played rugby and football but being small – he’s still only 5’ 6’’ – and light, he knew he needed to bulk up to hold his own. 

With the weightlifting club only a couple of streets away, he began lifting weights in an attempt to help his cause on the football and rugby pitch but soon, it became clear in which direction he was destined to go. 

As a teenager, it became apparent he was becoming one of the best lifters in Britain and numerous British Championships medals, including bronze this year, plus countless other accolades, make up an impressive-looking CV for Carfray but, as extreme as it sounds, he admits that with no Commonwealth Games appearance to boast of, he believed his other achievements were almost worthless. 

“I’ve travelled the world doing this sport, won British Championships and represented Scotland I don’t know how many times but in my head, I felt like I would have achieved nothing in this sport if I never made it to a Commonwealth Games. Maybe that’s me putting too much pressure on myself but that’s how I’ve always felt,” the 67kg lifter says. 

“So thankfully, I’ve finally made it.” 

At the Games, Carfray will go in ranked in the top six in the Commonwealth meaning he is within touching distance of a medal. 

He is doing all he can to banish any thoughts of a podium place but he will not be short of support on the day, with his biggest fan, his five-year-old daughter, ready to make the journey to the midlands. 

“My daughter, Katie, will come down with my mum - she means the world to me,” he says.  

“She knows a little bit what’s going on and she’s been to a few of my weightlifting competitions in the past but the Games will be a totally different experience for her. She’ll hopefully have a good time watching me,” he says. 

“I’m feeling in great shape and I have numbers in my head of what I want to do.  

“I try not to think about medals – I just want to focus on my training and not get carried away but I’m confident in how I’m feeling and on the day, if you’re on the ball and a couple of people are a little bit off, you never know what can happen.”