Capital high jumper Allan Smith rose to the occasion in no uncertain manner at the British Athletics International at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow, on Saturday.
Not only did the 20-year-old South Queensferry athlete clear 2.23 metres to add another centimetre to the Scottish native record he set in the same arena only the previous Saturday, but he then went on to have a good attempt at 2.26m, a height which would have really seen him shooting for the stars – British captain and Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz even failed this first time.
Of course this was a very different occasion from the low-key Scottish Universities meeting at which Smith had been a guest the previous week.
This was his first senior international and he was in the full glare of both a 5,000 capacity crowd and the BBC television cameras.
Little wonder maybe that Smith failed his first two attempts at his opening height of 2.10m and we all had our hearts in our mouths as he went for his third and last. This time, though, to his immense relief, he did it and he then went on to clear 2.15m and 2.19m at his first attempts and a new best of 2.23m at his second effort. “It was a bit of a shaky start – 2.10m was the highest I’d ever entered a competition,” he revealed.
“But once I got over that I enjoyed it. It just shows you what you can do if you knuckle down and put the work in,” added Smith, who on this form could have a real medal chance in the European Under-23 Championships in July.
Smith, who will compete in Ghent next weekend, eventually finished fourth in Saturday’s contest, matching the height of American rep Keith Moffatt, who had fewer failures, while Grabarz was second behind Aleksey Dmitrik of Russia who cleared 2.31m.
Smith’s fellow Scots Lynsey Sharp (Edinburgh AC) and Eilidh Child (Pitreavie) also finished fourth though they both had the disadvantage of tiring trips beforehand, Sharp only arriving back from Kenya late on Thursday and Child flying in from South Africa.
Sharp clocked 2:05.23 in the 800 metres which was actually an indoor personal best though she admitted it was “slow”.
“It felt okay but I just forgot what indoors was like because I haven’t done it for so many years,” she said.
The winner in 2:04.04 was an old rival of Sharp’s, the Russian Olympic bronze medallist Ekaterina Poistogova, with Geena Gall (USA) second and Sanja Mosler (Germany) third.
Child also set an indoor personal best in the 400 metres of 52.88 seconds and heads for the UK trials in Sheffield a week on Saturday confident of further progress as she targets the European Championships in Gothenburg in March.
nLASSWADE’S Guy Learmonth won an indoor 800m in 1:50.22 in Bratislava last night in the first of two races he has planned to simulate the European Indoor schedule. Tomorrow he races in Vienna where last year, in the same meeting, he recorded 1:49.52.