Tin­dle: My heart told me that I had to run for Scot­land

Hav­ing pledged his al­le­giance north of Bor­der, the Un­der-20 ath­lete of the year now has a clear fo­cus

The Herald - Herald Sport - - ATHLETICS - STEWART FISHER

AMERON TIN­DLE might have been born to two English par­ents and brought up and schooled south of the Bor­der in Ber­wick, but he feels in­stinc­tively that he is Scot­tish. And, quite frankly, that’s all that mat­ters.

The 18-year-old was, after all, born in Bor­ders Gen­eral Hospi­tal in Mel­rose –the same fa­cil­ity that once brought rugby union roy­alty like Jim Telfer and Craig Chalmers into the world.

Hav­ing cho­sen Ed­in­burgh AC, Tin­dle rep­re­sented Scot­land for the first time at the age of 16, picked up a Com­mon­wealth Youth Games bronze medal in the 100m last year and hopes this year to move on up to the full Scot­land Com­mon­wealth team for the Gold Coast next April. While Scot­land was un­able to pro­vide a sin­gle 100m or 200m sprinter, male or fe­male, for Glas­gow 2014, Tin­dle’s cur­rent per­sonal best for the 200m of 20.71secs is al­ready just one hun­dredth of a sec­ond out­with the qual­i­fy­ing stan­dard for the games.

“I was born in Mel­rose, in the Bor­ders Gen­eral Hospi­tal, so I am Scot­tish. But I could have com­peted for Eng­land as my par­ents are English and I qual­ify on res­i­dency grounds too,” said Tin­dle.

Scot­land’s Un­der-20 ath­lete of the year is feel­ing more Scot­tish than ever now he has de­clined the chance to de­part for the States and en­rolled as a stu­dent at the Univer­sity of Stir­ling. “I think my heart just told me,” he said: “I don’t think I could have com­peted for any­one else.

“I went to school in Eng­land, so I did English schools,” he added. “That al­ways con­fuses peo­ple. But I am quite proud to be Scot­tish, so I was al­ways go­ing to choose Scot­land. I never had any pa­per­work say­ing ‘Cameron, would you like to com­pete for Eng­land’ but I guess it was al­ways a pos­si­bil­ity. My par­ents [Paul and Eleanor] are more than happy for me to be run­ning for Scot­land – my dad’s mum’s side are all Scot­tish, he is the only English one.”

Tin­dle has made such star­tling strides in the sport al­ready that per­haps it is only nat­u­ral if it seems he is stand­ing still th­ese days if he loses a race or two.

While the teenager is al­ready run­ning faster than the likes of El­liot Bun­ney – whose Euro­pean in­door ju­nior ti­tle he would dearly love to em­u­late in Gros­seto, Italy this July – Ian Mackie and Dougie Walker, he goes into to­day’s Scot­tish Se­nior Cham­pi­onships at the Emi­rates Arena in Glas­gow keen to get back on track after a some­what un­der­whelm­ing start to the sea­son.

At­tempt­ing to build power in the early stages of his 200m by fo­cus­ing on the 60m, he was beaten by 0.13secs by Al­lan Hamil­ton, at the Scot­tish Na­tional Open just a fort­night ago.

It isn’t ex­actly re­venge he is after to­day, just a bet­ter per­sonal per­for­mance. Hav­ing only re­cently started weight train­ing on his slight frame, he and his coaches Henry Gray and Bruce Scott know time is on his side.

“I don’t get too hung up on who I am racing,” said Tin­dle. “At this time of the year it is al­ways about racing against my­self and racing against the clock. But our aim is to get faster over the first 60m to help my 200s. Be­cause that is the thing that is re­ally hold­ing my 200s back.

“But it [2nd place in the Na­tional Open] wasn’t what I wanted re­ally,” Tin­dle ad­mit­ted. “It was dis­ap­point­ing be­cause I have been go­ing pretty well in train­ing over the shorter dis­tances. But I didn’t get a great start and my whole race was ru­ined after that.

“I know that 60m is Al­lan’s dis­tance but I wasn’t ex­pect­ing him to get away like that and I pan­icked a wee bit. It is a rookie mis­take which I don’t nor­mally do.

“The World Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don aren’t re­ally on my hori­zon. My two main goals for this year are get­ting qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the Gold Coast and get­ting a medal at Euro­pean Ju­niors. Last year I was the sec­ond­fastest in Europe for my age and the guy who was top is now too old.”

As for Com­mon­wealth Games

IN THE FAST LANE: Hav­ing been hailed as the next big thing of Scot­tish sprint­ing, Tin­dle is ea­ger to get his run­ning back on track.

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