Athletics: Scotland's Top Five Hampden hopefuls

Any athletics lover will never forget Team GB's success on the track at London 2012, but can Scotland as the host nation replicate this success in 2014?

Loading Comments
Share
Print
Eilidh Child (right) with Jessica Ennis at Hampden
Eilidh Child (right) with Jessica Ennis at Hampden

Glasgow 2014 has the potential to be Team Scotland's most successful on the track. Hampden Park has been transformed into a world class athletics stadium and Scottish athletes will be hoping the atmosphere created by the home crowd will propel them onto the podium.

But who are Scotland's most likely medal prospects at the games?

1) Eilidh Child: 400 metre hurdles

The 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist and the poster girl for this Games is Scotland's most likely gold medal prospect.

The 27-year-old certainly has the experience and the credentials to go one better this time. She holds the Scottish record not only for the 400 metre hurdles but also for the 400 metres flat indoor.

Since finishing second in 2010 with a time of 55.62 seconds, Child has managed to reduce her personal best to 54.22; a time which would have would have easily won her gold back in Delhi.

Child's competition comes from reigning Commonwealth champion Muizat Ajoke Odumosu of Nigeria who has also improved her best to sub 55 seconds.

However, arguably Child's biggest rival is Jamaica's Kaliese Spencer. Shehas run a staggering 52.79 for the 400 hurdles, albeit back in 2011. She also narrowly missed out on an Olympic medal, finishing fourth in London.

Similarities can definitely be drawn between Child and Jessica Ennis-Hill, given that both are the faces of their respective Games.

This can be both a blessing and a curse and it is all about how the hurdler copes with the pressure. Some crumble whilst others like Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford used it to enhance their performance in London.

Child is definitely reaching the peak of her career; so the opportunity to win a major individual gold medal has never been better. That said, it really is all down to her performance on the day. Child is odds-on for a medal; the bigger question is which colour it will be.

2) Laura Muir: 800/1500 metres

The 20-year-old burst on to the scene last year and has since broken both the Scottish 800 and 1500 metre indoor records, all while studying veterinary medicine at the University of Glasgow.

The distance runner achieved a personal best of 4min 52.32 seconds in the 1500m earlier this year. The only British athlete to run quicker indoors over this distance is Dame Kelly Holmes.

She also ran another personal best of 2 min 00.94 seconds in the 800m this season, again highlighting her credentials as a genuine double medal contender at Glasgow 2014.

Despite the disappointment suffered at the World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland, Muir must still be considered a serious contender over both distances come July.

Only two athletes were faster than her over 1500m during the indoor season: Genzebe Dibaba and Abeba Aregawi, neither of whom will be in attendance at Glasgow as they represent Ethiopia and Sweden respectively.

Similarly, those ahead of Muir in the indoor 800m rankings were all from athletes representing countries that won't be competing in Glasgow.

Her youth may play a massive part in how she fares at the Games. Some may say a lack of experience can be a disadvantage and that this was her problem in Sopot, where she stumbled in her 800m heat and failed to qualify for the final.

On the other hand, being young both in age and championship experience can give you the mindset that you have no fear and nothing to lose.

3) Jax Thoirs: Pole Vault

Former gymnast Jax Thoirs is another young Scottish athlete who has a real chance of reaching the podium come July.

Originally from Jordanhill, he competed with the Victoria Park City of Glasgow Athletics Club before moving to the United States to study at Washington University.

Thoirs beat his indoor personal best in December vaulting 5.53m. He has also vaulted 5.50m outdoors; a height which would have won him a bronze medal if he had competed at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

At 20 years old, he is hitting peak form at just the right time and with a successful winter under his belt has the potential to vault higher.

However, he does face a fight to gain a place on the podium against three men who finished ahead of Thoirs in the world indoor rankings and are from competing Commonwealth countries: Canada's Shawnacy Barber (5.75m), England's Luke Cutts (5.71m) and Max Eaves (5.55m).

Although he is behind these three athletes, he is ever improving and stands a very good chance of improving his outdoor personal best before and during the Games and winning a medal.

4) Chris Bennett: Hammer

The Glasgow athlete has a personal best of 71.24 metres which would have won him bronze in the 2010 Games.

Although a medal contender, Bennett has a lot of competition in what is a very technical event.

In 2014, three men who compete for Commonwealth nations have already thrown over 70 metres: England's Nick Miller, James Steacy from Canada and the reigning Commonwealth champion, South Africa's Chris Harmse.

However, Bennett will fancy his chances in front a home crowd and if he is able to produce his best form on the day he has a very good chance of leaving Glasgow with a medal.

5) Eilish McColgan: 3000m Steeplechase

The daughter of the legendary Liz has an outside chance of a medal at Glasgow 2014. Eilish McColgan has managed to run an impressive 9mins 35.82 seconds in 2013, a time which would have been enough for gold in Delhi.

However, due to the nature of the event the time often does not matter, as a race can either be quick or extremely tactical with a sprint finish.

In addition to this, McColgan finished ninth in the 2013 World Championships and when you take out those who competed for non-Commonwealth countries, she would have finished fourth. This was behind a strong Kenyan trio, two of whom ran below 9min 15 seconds.

As is with most distance events, athletes from African countries are the favourites. That much was evident from Delhi and the 2013 World Championships In Moscow, where African athletes managed a clean sweep of the 3000m steeplechase medals.

However, the home crowd is the factor that could push McColgan to achieve a Commonwealth medal on home soil like her mother did at the Edinburgh games in 1986.

Sport

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

159552