SCOTTISH TITLES AND GAMES STANDARDS THE GOAL, WITH POLE VAULTER AMONG THE STAND-OUT PERFORMERS
Field athletes take the chance to strengthen their case for Commonwealth Games spots
WITH THAT BECAUSE I HAVE ONLY WON THIS ONCE BEFORE AND YOU NEVER
KNOW WHEN SOMETHING LIKE A CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD MIGHT COME ROUND
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
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