Muir’s coach vents his frus­tra­tion over Scot­tish Ath­let­ics fund­ing

The Herald - Sport - - GOLF/ATHLETICS - MARK WOODS

UK ATH­LET­ICS chiefs will be asked to bro­ker a truce be­tween Scot­tish Ath­let­ics and mid­dle-dis­tance star Laura Muir af­ter the coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment sys­tem came un­der fire from the Olympic medal prospect’s coach Andy Young.

The for­mer in­ter­na­tional has called on Sports Min­is­ter Jamie Hep­burn to re-as­sess the help given to elite per­form­ers based in Scotland via the £16 mil­lion al­lo­cated to high per­for­mance through fund­ing agency Sportscot­land while ac­cus­ing the gov­ern­ing body of fail­ing to pro­vide the ba­sic re­sources re­quired to back their home­grown hope­fuls.

Muir is among the few lead­ing Scot­tish ath­letes in re­cent times to have re­mained on home soil while oth­ers have sought spe­cial­ist as­sis­tance else­where in the UK or over­seas. But Young, who has been seek­ing spon­sor­ship to set up an acad­emy in Glasgow, has re­vealed he re­jected a chance to re­lo­cate to UKA’s base in Lough­bor­ough, a move that might have seen his pro­tégé fol­low suit.

“Had I cho­sen to ap­ply for that job and been suc­cess­ful and Laura had fol­lowed me out of Scotland this would just be an­other ex­am­ple in a long line of brain drain and talent leav­ing Scotland like so many ath­letes be­fore her: Eilidh Child, Lynsey Sharp, Chris O’Hare,” he said. “It would have just re­in­forced the no­tion that if you want to win global medals in sport, you need to leave Scotland be­cause as a coun­try we can­not pro­vide the cor­rect level of sup­port to our ath­letes and coaches.”

Young vented his frus­tra­tion in a strongly-worded open let­ter to Scot­tish Ath­let­ics chief ex­ec­u­tive Nigel Holl. And al­though one se­nior fig­ure in the sport at­tested to a “clash of per­son­al­i­ties” be­tween the pair, it is likely that UKA’s en­durance supremo Barry Fudge will be asked to find a so­lu­tion with Muir now funded by UK Sport’s Lottery-backed world-class per­for­mance pro­gramme.

“Fi­nan­cial sup­port for your coach can only be con­sid­ered by UK Ath­let­ics,” Holl said in an email sent to Muir and Young. “Sportscot­land have no re­mit or ca­pac­ity in this area.”

Muir ban­ished the dis­pute from her mind to ce­ment her place in the Bri­tish team for next month’s Euro­pean cross­coun­try cham­pi­onships in France on Satur­day by qual­i­fy­ing as the lead­ing Un­der-23 per­former at the UK tri­als in Liver­pool. The 22-year-old was fifth over­all in the women’s race, won by reign­ing Euro­pean cham­pion Gemma Steel, with fel­low Scots Steph Twell and Mad­die Mur­ray also se­cur­ing spots in the field for Hy­eres on 13 De­cem­ber.

“I went for it,” Muir said. “I’m pleased to have fin­ished highly and booked my place in France. It will be a lot faster course out there and hope­fully bet­ter weather as well.”

Scot­tish cham­pion Andy Butchart, who faded from lead­ing to 13th, will sit out but Luke Traynor, who flew back from Ok­la­homa for the race, is set for se­lec­tion in the men’s un­der-23 field af­ter com­ing fifth. “I only got back to Glasgow on Thurs­day,” he re­vealed. “So I have to be quite happy with this per­for­mance.”

Mean­while, Com­mon­wealth Games Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Louise Martin has re­vealed the Ba­hamas are ready to step in and stage the 2017 Com­mon­wealth Youth Games af­ter orig­i­nal hosts St Lu­cia backed out.

DIS­PUTE: Laura Muir is in­volved in row over fi­nan­cial sup­port for ath­letes

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