EVEN without crowds to cheer the stars on, it has been great to see the 2020 Tokyo Games finally taking place.

Every Olympics Games brings new heroes as fresh chapters in the annals of competitive sport are written.

Scottish competitors have certainly been part of that, from Eric Liddell at the Paris Olympics in 1924 displaying personal conviction and athletic prowess in equal measure to the extent that his story formed the backbone of the film Chariots of Fire, to Dunblane’s Andy Murray, becoming the only player with two Olympic gold medals in men's singles.

These Games, though, have given us a new Local Hero.

Alloa’s own Duncan Scott’s performances in the pool have earned him a place in the pantheon of Olympic legends. Duncan, who is a graduate of Stirling University, is the first athlete, representing Great Britain, to win four medals at a single games – that is a truly fantastic achievement.

Indeed, as I write, Duncan’s haul of one gold and three silvers would place a Clackmannanshire Olympic Team in 27th place in the medal table, joint with Romania, Sweden and Venezuela and ahead of nations like India, South Africa, Jamaica and Portugal.

That will, of course, change as the Games progress, but it underlines the significance of an exceptional individual performance. Well done, Duncan.

Mention must also be made of Kathleen Dawson who also trains at Stirling University in my constituency, and has become the first Scottish woman to win an Olympic Gold Medal in the pool for 109 years.

Not everyone can become an Olympic Champion but the Scottish Government is committed to helping all of our young people to have the opportunity to reach the targets they set themselves.

In recent days we have seen a series of announcements which deliver on SNP manifesto promises and are part of the First 100 Days commitments which we made.

A £70million investment in youth employment, more modern apprenticeships, more college places, free bus travel for under-22s. We are working hard to secure the very best future for our young people.

As we emerge out of restrictions and into recovery, we’re ensuring that Scotland’s young people have the chance to succeed despite the economic hit of COVID.

That new £70m funding for the Young Person’s Guarantee aims to give every person aged 16 to 24 the opportunity of a job, apprenticeship, education or training.

The Young Person’s Guarantee is not simply a short-term intervention in response to COvid – it’s a commitment to create a more successful country by supporting every young person to achieve their potential.

Since it was first launched in November 2020, the Guarantee has already created 18,000 opportunities for young people – including modern apprenticeships, graduate programs, additional college places and more.

It has also established the Young Scot Leadership Panel of 21 young people, and the Equality Action Plan, to ensure we’re tackling inequalities and removing barriers for all.

We can make Scotland a real world-beating powerhouse and ensure that every young Scot can be a winner.