Games dry run? That's child's play

SCOTTISH Olympian Eilidh Child says the pressure is off as she prepares to lead the Scottish Squad into the first meet of the year.

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The 26-year-old 4x400m world bronze medallist plans to tell her team to just enjoy this week's Glasgow British Athletics International Match and soak up the atmosphere.

For many of the home squad it will be the first time they have competed against international sporting stars in front of a home crowd.

And the Scottish captain is urging them to find their feet and use it as a learning experience ahead of the Commonwealth Games this summer.

Speaking from the Team GB warm-weather training camp in South Africa, she said she was planning to relax and enjoy this Saturday's sporting extravaganza.

Eilidh, who lives in Cumbernauld, said: "I am just hoping everyone can go out and enjoy it: it will be fun.

"There will be a nice atmosphere as well, with it being the home team so I am looking forward to that side of it as well.

"It's nice to get that opportunity because you don't really get a chance to compete for Scotland very often."

The Scottish squad will compete alongside some of the biggest names from the London 2012 Olympics including long jumper Greg Rutherford at the Emirates Arena. Also taking part at the weekend is British Olympic hero Robbie Grabarz, as well as European Indoor 60m silver medallist James Dasaolu, 2003 100m world champion Kim Collins and Scottish 800m specialist Laura Muir.

It is the first time Scotland has had its own side at the meet and they will compete with squads from Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the USA and a Commonwealth Select squad.

Eilidh will compete in the 400m and the 4x400m relay on Saturday.

At the Commonwealth Games she will be running the 400m hurdles and the 4x400m relay, so the Glasgow meet is an extra opportunity to run with the Scottish team.

Eilidh was one of the first athletes to be selected as part of Team Scotland for the Games after getting qualifying times last year.

She bagged silver in the 400m hurdles at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010 and hopes to medal again in Glasgow.

So far training has been going well, but, she explained, the first meet of the season is always tough.

Eilidh said: "It is so early in the year, it is just about getting out there and blowing the cobwebs away, but I'm looking forward to it.

"I did this event last year and I hadn't done indoors for quite a number of years and didn't know what to expect, so I am going into this with a bit more confidence and a bit more knowledge about how to run the 400 indoors.

"Normally the first run is the marking point. We use the first race to see what we need to build on in the next few races, so it is just a case of going out and seeing what shape I am in and building on it from there."

Eilidh is yet to meet the full Scottish squad who will compete on Saturday, but she is hopeful that they will fair well against tough competition.

And the veteran ¬competitor plans to urge her team to not be intimidated by the strong field.

She said: "A lot of the athletes that will compete at this will never have run against the calibre of athletes that will be on display in Glasgow so it is important to encourage them not to feel out of their depth and to compete alongside them and do what they need to do.

"It is really good to give them an opportunity to run in a high field before the Commonwealth Games.

"The practise on the 25th will give them a stepping stone towards that.

"Obviously everyone is going to do their best and at the end of the day in these kind of races anything can happen.

"GB and America are going to have very strong teams and it is going to be hard for us to compete with them, but if we can just all perform well on the day then hopefully we can have a few surprises."

nTickets start at £15 and can be bought by calling 08000 55 60 56 or visiting britishathletics.org.uk.

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