Jamie Bowie going from strength to strength

Jamie Bowie: Great start to 2014. Picture: SNS

Jamie Bowie: Great start to 2014. Picture: SNS

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HERE’S one indication of Jamie Bowie’s progress. Not so long ago he could only aspire to take part at major championships. Now he has to decide which ones to miss out on.

Here’s another. It’s a list of the personal bests the 400-metre runner has recorded, and it just keeps on getting longer, seemingly by the week.

Bowie has begun 2014 where he left off last season, with a flurry of new fastest times. At the National Open earlier this month, he clocked 47.09 seconds to become the second fastest Scot of all time indoors. On Saturday at the Emirates Arena, he went faster again with a run of 46.65sec, then hours later played his part in a new Scottish record for the 4x400m relay of 3mins 09.84sec.

“I was actually in the team that ran the Scottish record in 2009, so I knew the four of us were capable of running it today,” Bowie said after the Sainsbury’s British Athletics Glasgow International Match on Saturday. “It was a pretty demanding day, with two 400s, especially the first leg out of blocks, but as a team we knew we needed to keep in contention. The guys did an amazing job of keeping in touch, and that’s what relays are all about.”

The individual time brought Bowie to within five-hundredths of a second of the qualifying time for the IAAF World Championships, to be held in Sopot, Poland, in March. Qualification is certainly within his grasp, but, with the inaugural world relay championships taking place in the Bahamas in May, and the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships to come after that, the 24-year-old is unsure if he can fit it all in.

“I’m going to sit down with my coach and see how we feel,” he said. “It was a good day, especially being just 0.05sec off the qualifying standard for the world indoors. I’m trying to balance competition plans. There’s the Commonwealth Games at Hampden, the European Championships, the world relay championships and the world indoors.

“We haven’t prepared specifically for indoors, so my times have been a bit of a surprise. So we’ll take a day to think about it, and then decide if we go on to the trials [for the world indoors]. It’s mostly about the world relays in May, the European Championships, and obviously I’ve got the Scottish factor of Hampden as well.”

There are many factors in Bowie’s success, with one of the most important being the support from his training group. There are seven athletes in Sco400, all of them 400m runners coached by Piotr Haczek. “We’re a small team and we depend on each other,” he explained. “Not just the athletes, but our coach and our physiotherapist Stevie Mutch.”

Like Bowie, Gemma Nicol also had an outstanding season last year, and the two of them and their five colleagues all hope to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Games. They are a close-knit, unassuming group, whose supportive approach was emulated at the weekend by the whole national team under the captaincy of Eilidh Child, like Bowie a competitor in both the flat 400 and the relay. Bowie is sure his group have found a winning formula, and he is equally confident that Scotland’s track-and-field team can make the most of their talents in the Commonwealth Games with a little bit of help from what will be a capacity crowd. “I think a lot of people outdid themselves, doing better than they thought they could, and it’s all down to the home support,” he said of Saturday.

“When I got to the start line I couldn’t believe the roar. Five thousand people all behind you – multiply that by ten and that’s what it’s going to be like at Hampden.”

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