Hunter within touching distance of Glasgow 2014

Rachel Hunter alongside confirmation of the distance which took her past the qualifying standard. Picture: Bobby Gavin

Rachel Hunter alongside confirmation of the distance which took her past the qualifying standard. Picture: Bobby Gavin

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Rachel Hunter has one foot inside Hampden after a throwing a Commonwealth Games standard in hammer on Sunday.

The scottishathletics Spring Throws event was a big success with a large number of athletes in attendance at Grangemouth and some fine performances.

Top billing belonged to Ayr-based athlete Hunter, who is not yet 21, and who has been making exciting progress over the past 12 months under the coaching of Scottish record holder Chris Black.

Hunter threw out to a 62.76m to clear the 61m required for Glasgow 2014 and set a new personal best. It is her first Games standard, with two required.

It also elevated her into third place in the Scottish all-time list, with only Shirley Webb and Susan McKelvie having thrown the hammer a greater distance.

“It was a wee bit surreal on Sunday because, a week earlier, I had treatment for a sore back and wasn’t sure if I would compete,” Hunter said.

“To get a standard is great and it has given me a real confidence boost. Suddenly I am thinking about getting the second one and the Games could be a reality. I feel as if the distance is there inside me – I just need to throw it out now.

“I’ve put my studies in nursing on hold a bit this year to try and chase the Commonwealth Games. Chris Black has been great and we train sometimes in Edinburgh and quite a lot at Kilmarnock. I will graduate now in December 2014 rather than September.

“Training is hard work but I love it. Chris and I were a little worried about peaking early season because last summer it took me until September to reach my best throw – nine centimetres short of the standard. So to get this in March is very encouraging.”

Myra Perkins was also desperately close to a qualifying standard with her best throw of 60.69m auguring well for the season ahead.

She tweeted later: “It is my third best throw and just 31cms away from that magical 61m distance. And it is only March. Bring it on!”

And Kimberley Reed, who has an eye on the World Juniors standard of 60m, was close to that mark with a personal best of 59.84m in a great women’s hammer contest at Grangemouth.

There were plenty of other performances on a day which produced 17 personal bests, one Commonwealth Games Qualifier and five UK Power of 10 Standards.

The top under-17 was George Evans, with a 48.18m discus throw and a personal best in the hammer, with top U-15 performance going to Emma Rae, with a personal best of 44.38m in the hammer.

Such was the success of the event, which attracted 116 entries, that National Throws Mentor Hugh Murray is hoping to stage another if a space can be found in this summer’s busy competition programme. It is also hoped a series of throws meets will be formalised for 2015.

• Nick Percy was another Scottish thrower in top form over the weekend as the Team Scotland selection recorded a discus personal best.

Percy was in action at Oxford and threw 56.68m – a distance bettered only by four Scots in the past. And, as Arnold Black noted on the Scot Stats website, that performance would have placed ninth in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Percy said on Twitter: “Good day at the office. Seventh in Europe now and third in UK.”

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