Field ath­letes take the chance to strengthen their case for Com­mon­wealth Games spots






THE 125th

Scot­tish Se­nior Cham­pi­onships in Grange­mouth pre­sented not only the chance to land a na­tional ti­tle but also, for a few ath­letes, an op­por­tu­nity to strengthen their case for Com­mon­wealth

Games se­lec­tion.

And it was in the field where the great­est num­ber of chances were seized in the bid to claim a spot on the plane to the Gold Coast next April.

Pole vaulter Jax Thoirs pro­duced a par­tic­u­larly con­vinc­ing per­for­mance on the first day, dur­ing which the VP Glas­gow ath­lete set a cham­pi­onship record of 5.32m and be­came a Scot­tish cham­pion for the sec­ond time.

He then went close to what would have been a Scot­tish record at 5.52m but can con­sole him­self with the fact he set the re­quired stan­dard at Grange­mouth to add to his 5.40m jumps at both the re­cent Manch­ester In­ter­na­tional and in com­ing sec­ond at the Bri­tish Cham­pi­onships in Birm­ing­ham.

“I’m pleased with that be­cause I have only won this once be­fore and you never know when some­thing like a cham­pi­onship record might come around again,” he said. “I hope I have shown this sea­son I can per­form when it mat­ters as I have at Birm­ing­ham, the Manch­ester In­ter­na­tional and now the Scot­tish Se­niors.”

An­other ath­lete to firmly stake a Com­mon­wealth claim was David Smith af­ter his win in the high jump on the sec­ond day of com­pe­ti­tion. He leapt pre­cisely the height re­quired, 2.21m, and came in­cred­i­bly close to clear­ing 2.24m. The 26-year-old also leapt 2.21m in­doors ear­lier this year, as well as at a meet­ing in Swe­den. There had been some doubt about whether or not that jump in June would count so this vic­tory was a source of real pride for Smith.

“There’s lot of rules about per­mits, so we weren’t sure if that would count but I know the Scot­tish Champs counts so I’m very happy and re­lieved,” said Smith, who has one more

com­pe­ti­tion lined up, of his show­ing in Swe­den.

“From ex­pe­ri­ence, if you’re chas­ing some­thing then it never re­ally hap­pens. I’ve had all sea­son so if it wasn’t go­ing to hap­pen then it wasn’t go­ing to hap­pen. But I know there’s more in there and I can jump higher. If I do that then I can only make my case stronger.”

One ath­lete with work still to do is Myra Perkins, the Falkirk Vics mem­ber who won her first Scot­tish ham­mer ti­tle but saw her vic­to­ri­ous dis­tance of 61.48m fall short of a sec­ond Com­mon­wealth qual­i­fy­ing throw of 62.65m.

“I’ve been re­ally con­sis­tent this year and I’ve had a num­ber of throws over 61m. I’m still try­ing to get my sec­ond Com­mon­wealth Games qual­i­fier and it’s a shame I couldn’t throw a bit fur­ther but, ac­tu­ally, I’m re­ally happy with that. I’ve got an­other cou­ple of pos­si­bil­i­ties lined up so I’m def­i­nitely try­ing to give my­self as much chance as pos­si­ble.”

In the men’s shot on day two, City of York’s Scott Lin­coln broke the cham­pi­onship record with a third round 18.80m, beat­ing the pre­vi­ous best of 18.76m, while the women’s ti­tle went to VP Glas­gow’s de­fend­ing cham­pion Kirsty

Yates with her 14.00m ef­fort.

An­other Kirsty who cer­tainly knows how to win this event is the now 10-time cham­pion Kirsty Law, the Sale Har­rier tak­ing her sev­enth con­sec­u­tive dis­cus ti­tle thanks to a throw of 54.54m.

An­gus McInroy (51.13m) won the men’s event.

Else­where in the field, Nikki Man­son of Giffnock North re­tained her women’s high jump ti­tle with 1.81m, Han­nah Lawler (3.30m) won the women’s pole vault while the javelin hon­ours went to Birch­field’s Greg Mil­lar (62.58m) and Ed­in­burgh AC’s Aileen Ren­nie (41.54m). The men’s ham­mer gold went to Wood­ford Green’s Andy Frost with 59.10m.

In the long jump, Shet­tle­ston’s David John Martin, who had been hos­pi­talised with a brain ill­ness ear­lier this year, pro­duced a re­mark­able win in a per­sonal best of 7.53m, while Jade Nimmo won the women’s event in 5.98m. The triple jump ti­tles went to Ed­in­burgh AC’s Chuxx Onyia, who leapt a per­sonal best of 15.63m, and Black­heath’s Chioma Matthews (12.45m).

The qual­ity of some of the events was not helped by a num­ber of high-pro­file no-shows but there were still some ex­cel­lent per­for­mances on the track. Few were more im­pres­sive than Jemma Reekie, whose fine year is clearly trans­lat­ing into a great deal of con­fi­dence. The Euro­pean Ju­nior 1500m cham­pion showed a fine change of pace over the clos­ing 200m to win her first se­nior ti­tle and just hold off de­fend­ing cham­pion Mhairi Hendry over 800m, win­ning in 2:08.39. Ed­in­burgh AC’s Pa­trick Tay­lor won the men’s 800m race in 1:53.90.

In the 400m, there was also a first se­nior ti­tle for Aberdeen’s Kelsey Ste­wart thanks to her time of 54.27, the men’s vic­tory go­ing to En­field & Haringey’s Kr­ishawn Aiken in 48.11 af­ter a close bat­tle with lo­cal boy Grant Pren­der­leith. Aiken also took the 200m ti­tle in 21.65. Ban­chory’s Alisha Rees had been chas­ing the 200m Com­mon­wealth qual­i­fy­ing time of 23:30, a mark she came per­ilously close to in Manch­ester with 23:32. On this oc­ca­sion she came up just short again in 23.38.

GB un­der-20 in­ter­na­tional Cameron Tin­dle took the men’s 100m gold in 10.68 on the first day while Katy Wyper landed top spot on the women’s 100m podium with a run of 11.63.

Me­gan Marrs (Wind­sor Slough) just took the women’s 100m hur­dles ti­tle in 13.66, while VP Glas­gow’s Calum

Innes was first in the 110m hur­dles in 15.09. The

400m hur­dles ti­tles went to Pit­reavie AAC’s Jack Lawrie (51.69) and Nisha De­sai of Traf­ford AC (59.05).

Trav­el­ling con­sid­er­ably fur­ther was Grant Shel­don, an­other Com­mon­wealth hope­ful, but his sights are set on triathlon.

He looks set to be head­ing for Aus­tralia but, fol­low­ing a re­cent bro­ken wrist af­ter

com­ing off his bike, he has had to take a tem­po­rary break from multi-sport com­pe­ti­tion.

The de­ci­sion to com­pete in the 5000m, the first time he has ever done so on the track, paid off hand­somely for the Cam­bus­lang Har­rier as he be­came Scot­tish cham­pion in a time of 14:22.34 and was pre­sented with his medal by Laura Muir, who now knows a thing or two about cov­er­ing that dis­tance.

Shel­don said: “I’m happy with that win. I’ve been run­ning well all sea­son and not re­ally had a chance to show it in triathlon so af­ter I broke my wrist I was look­ing round at what I could fo­cus on and I’ve not re­ally run on the track since I was a kid, so I thought I’d have a lit­tle bit of fun.”

The im­pact of that race told, how­ever, as dur­ing the 1500m he fin­ished sev­enth in a race won by Cen­tral AC’s Dale Col­ley in 3:56.85. Fife AC’s Ste­phie Pen­ny­cook won the women’s 1500m in 4:25.34. In the women’s 3000m steeple­chase, there was a win for Scot­tish in­ter­na­tional Lau­ren Stod­dart in 10:51.42, the men’s ti­tle go­ing to Shet­tle­ston’s Michael Dea­son in 9.26.07.

Vic­tory in the women’s 5000m went to Fife AC’s Annabel Simp­son in 16:47.49, who was sec­ond to un­der-20 win­ner, Aberdeen’s Naomi Lang.

Jax Thoirs: cleared a cham­pi­onship record 5.32m

Myra Perkins: pleased with win but just short of Com­mon­wealth stan­dard

David Smith: won with 2.21m and came close to clear­ing 2.24m

Kirsty Law: be­came a 10-time dis­cus cham­pion

Grant Shel­don: 5000m win for the triath­lete

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