Lynsey Sharp sure future is bright for Scots

Left to right: Team captain Lynsey Sharp with Kelsey Stewart, Zoey Clark and Diane Ramsay at the Loughborough International match
Left to right: Team captain Lynsey Sharp with Kelsey Stewart, Zoey Clark and Diane Ramsay at the Loughborough International match
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LYNSEY Sharp has backed Scotland’s next generation of athletes to continue their upwardly mobile development.

The Commonwealth and European medalist captained a youthful Scotland team that finished a creditable fourth in the six-team Loughborough International match on Sunday.

Sharp joined the 4x400m squad and spent time encouraging and advising a host of teenagers – as Scottish athletes posted qualifying standards in a range of disciplines for the World Youths in Colombia, the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa and the European U20 and U23 events in Sweden and Estonia later this year.

“I was really impressed with the youngsters that I spoke to at Loughborough,” said Sharp.

“I don’t often have the chance to mingle with our Scottish athletes now, unfortunately, and there were a number here that I had never met.

“Just watching some of the performances and talking to them, I was taken with the attitude and ability.

“There were all sorts of qualifying standards set and across a range of events – jumps, throws, sprints and hurdles and middle distance.

“It wasn’t easy on Sunday because it was quite windy and cold later in the day. It was far from ideal conditions. And I know myself having competed at Loughborough at a young age that it can be a big deal coming south of the border to race there and you can feel really very nervous. So there were things they had to overcome, but they stepped up to the mark and it is promising for us in terms of the next few years and the next Commonwealth Games.”

Sharp herself wants to be involved in the relay at the Gold Coast in April 2018. “I love running the 4x400m and would like to have done it in Glasgow but I just wasn’t in any fit state after the 800m final,” she added, after racing with Zoey Clark and Diane Ramsay – who featured at Hampden – and 18-year-old Kelsey Stewart as Scotland finished second to GB Juniors.

“We’ve the likes of Eilidh Child and Kirsten McAslan to add to the squad from Sunday so it is looking quite good. I definitely want to be involved in that at Gold Coast because I have always enjoyed relays.”

In Sharp’s main event, the 800m, Scottish women are starting to improve their positions in the British rankings with half a dozen or more setting good times this month. There are currently 11 Scots under two minutes ten seconds in 2015 despite it being early in the outdoor season.

As well as Sharp, Laura Muir, Emily Dudgeon and Katy Brown, there is a younger element coming through with 19-year-old Mhairi Hendry of VP-Glasgow set for the European U20s this summer and Warrington-based Carys McAulay, 17, inside the Commonwealth Youth Games standard. Dudgeon and Hendry made it a Scottish 1-2 in the 800m at Loughborough (Hendry was representing GB Juniors) and Edinburgh AC’s Dudgeon feels the intensifying competition is helpful.

“Mhairi came in just behind me and that was a good run from her,” said Dudgeon, who made the Commonwealth semi-final at Hampden.

“We’re starting to get quite a few athletes in the women’s 800m running good times and that’s good for the event in Scotland. For the past two or three years, I’ve had someone like Lynsey as someone to aim at, look up to and try and emulate. It gives you motivation seeing people raise their levels and hopefully now we’ve a few girls who can really make an impact at 800m.

“I was quite pleased myself to win at Loughborough for the second year in a row wearing a Scotland vest and 2.04 on a windy day in my first race of the season was fine. I’m in Belgium next weekend and hopefully can run faster there.”