Lee McConnell has been to the Olympics three times and has a hat-trick of Commonwealth Games appearances to her name – and has now added a Scottish Indoor title at the first attempt.
The GB international and 400m specialist won the Women’s 200m at the Emirates Arena on an exciting day at the McCain Senior Indoor championships yesterday. McConnell held off youngsters like Chloe Lambert and Zoey Clark to win. Allan Scott and Allan Smith were others to top the podium on a weekend when both those men had appeared in the Birmingham Grand Prix on the previous day.
There were title wins, too, for the likes of Jade Nimmo, Kirsten Peters, Andrew Crichton, Anthony Young, Jayne Nisbet, Sam Adams and Ryan Oswald, with the competition as intense and keen as to be expected on these occasions.
“I’ve never run a Scottish Indoor champs before, so I guess that’s why this is my first title,” said McConnell. “It was good fun out there against the youngsters. I had decided quite a long time ago to compete in the British International Match in the Emirates in late January and after that it was an easy decision to add the Scottish into our plans.
“I’ve not really let-up on winter training, either. Everything is geared towards the World Champs in August and hopefully an appearance in Moscow. I think I doubled the number of 200m runs I’ve had in my career with two today so it was nice to make sure there was a Scottish title at the end of it.”
Gemma Nicol was picked for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002 at the age of 15 but she’s never run faster indoors over 400m than her heat in the McCain Senior Champs. The Dunfermline athlete clocked 53.59 and, while she was slightly slower in the final, she comfortably took gold from VP-Glasgow pair Erin Leggate and Mhairi Patience. “I knew there wasn’t all that much recovery time between the heat and the final so, if I was to get a good time, it had to be in the first race,” said Nicol. “I am enjoying my athletics again with a good training group and this is a pleasing way to end the indoor season.”
Young, of Pitreavie, made it a Fife double in the two-lap sprints as he edged out championship holder, Jamie Bowie. The Inverness athlete has held the 400m indoor Scottish title for three years but Young just managed to get beyond him towards the finish to win in 48.66.
“I guess somebody had to stop Jamie some time,” said Young, who roared with delight as he cross the line. “I’m kidding because we get on well and he was very sporting about it, but I am pleased to win the Scottish indoor title. We’d a photo finish in the National Indoor Open at 200m and he beat me by one hundredth of a second that day.”
Edinburgh AC’s Andrew Crichton won the Men’s 1500m and the same club were back on top of the podium when Jayne Nisbet won the high jump with a 1.80 clearance. Allan Smith took the Men’s High Jump as he returned from Birmingham to clear 2.20 again and win from Ray Bobrownicki’s 2.15 and Fraser Weir’s 1.95.
There were 800m successes for Kirsten Peters (2.11.03) and Shaun Wyllie (1.55.97), while Sam Adams (VP Glasgow) won the Men’s Pole Vault and Sam Lyon (Aberdeen AAC) the long jump. Shaftesbury’s John Carr won the men’s triple jump with 15.01.
Meanwhile, record-breaker Chris O’Hare turned in a magnificent mile effort in New York yesterday. The Tulsa University student landed a Scottish Indoor record with 3.52.98 in the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games. O’Hare beat a 3.55.43 mark set by David Strang almost 20 years ago in the United States and his time was the third best of all-time by a Scot over the mile.