Record-break­ing Butchart and McCol­gan stride nearer Rio se­lec­tion

The Herald - Herald Sport - - ATHLETICS - MARK WOODS

LESS than 16 min­utes of un­re­lent­ing graft stands be­tween Andy Butchart and Eil­ish McCol­gan and a cov­eted ap­pear­ance at the Olympic Games. A job half-done. A dream half-re­alised. How­ever, yes­ter­day in Hen­gelo, the Scot­tish pair gained the sec­ond of the two re­quired qual­i­fy­ing stan­dards with re­lent­less runs in their re­spec­tive 5000 me­tres. Now all they need is to fin­ish in the top two at next month’s Bri­tish tri­als in Birm­ing­ham and Brazil will as­suredly beckon.

Butchart ap­pears a man in a zone. Even los­ing a shoe on his fi­nal lap could not pre­vent his cap­ture of a Scot­tish record that had be­longed to Nat Muir since 1980, eleven years be­fore he was born. Thir­teen min­utes and 13.3 sec­onds was still only enough for ninth but the per­for­mance mat­tered more than the plac­ing. “What an amaz­ing race,” he de­clared via Twit­ter. “Buzzing is an un­der­state­ment.”

More of the same and he will join Mo Farah in the event in Rio. Ditto for McCol­gan who was sixth in the women’s 5000m in 15.16:51. There will now be no sec­ond-guess­ing the de­ci­sion to switch away from the steeple­chase in the cause of in­jury preven­tion. The Dun­do­nian, re­stored and re­vived fol­low­ing a 22-month stint on the side­lines, may only have scratched the sur­face of her po­ten­tial.

“I’ve only been back run­ning a few months,” she said. “Even three weeks makes a huge dif­fer­ence. In Kenya I was strug­gling so I’ve taken off big chunks. But it will boil down to tri­als and who is in shape.”

Guy Lear­month and Al­lan Smith were sixth in the 800m and high jump re­spec­tively, short of the Rio stan­dards, while Steph Twell, McCol­gan’s like­li­est ri­val, was sev­enth in the 1500m.

Else­where, Lynsey Sharp moved into top spot in the UK 800 me­tres rank­ings with fifth place in her Di­a­mond League de­but in Ra­bat in 1:59.71, as South Africa’s Caster Se­menya pulled out the quick­est run in the world this year. How­ever, the 2012 Euro­pean cham­pion con­firmed she is un­likely to at­tempt to re­gain her ti­tle in Am­s­ter­dam in July. “The main aim is ob­vi­ously the Olympics,” she said. Rio hope­ful Jake Wight­man won the 1500m at the Lough­bor­ough In­ter­na­tional where CJ Ujah beat Bri­tish team-mate James Dasaolu to win the 100 me­tres in 10.06 sec­onds, in­side the Olympic qual­i­fy­ing time.

Olympic cham­pion Jessica En­nisHill made a be­lated re­turn from in­jury with eighth place in the javelin, leav­ing her with 12 weeks to make tweaks ahead of her ti­tle de­fence. “My Achilles ac­tu­ally feels re­ally good,” she said.

Freya Ross was 15th in the Great Manch­ester Run in 36:29.

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