The Irishman who will lead Scotland’s track and field team at Hampden next summer in the Commonwealth Games takes charge of a number of the athletes for the first time for competitive business this weekend.
And, with others in action at various meetings around the globe as the 2013 outdoor season gathers pace, Stephen Maguire is excited about the future. Maguire will oversee the Scotland team in the Loughborough International – a match featuring six teams with Scots also turning out for the hosts Loughborough University, British Universities and GB Juniors as well as competing as guests.
With the likes of Eilish McColgan running in the 1500m as a guest and hammer throwers Andy Frost and Chris Bennett granted slots (two men who have already thrown to Glasgow 2014 standards), a whole host of Glasgow 2014 hopefuls are in action this weekend.
Added to that list are GB internationals Laura Muir and Steph Twell in a high-level 5000m race in Birmingham tonight as well as Rhona Auckland, who is chasing European Under-23 selection with Team GB and NI.
“There will be a large number of Scottish athletes in action over the course of the weekend – from the United States to Birmingham as well as Loughborough,” said director of coaching Maguire. “It gives us a good chance to see where people are at after the winter and then, in many cases, warm weather training camps. I’d stress it is early season but already I am encouraged by a number of performances by people chasing the selection standards for Glasgow 2014.
“For me at Loughborough there’s also a chance to meet and talk to the athletes as well over a couple of days and that’s a good opportunity. For those competing – it is not all that often there is that chance to wear a Scotland vest and it will be an honour for them.
“Having people like Eilidh Child and Lynsey Sharp present is great because it allows younger athletes selected to spend time with them and learn from them. Lynsey won’t run on Sunday but will be at the hotel and spend time with the team. Even just being around Olympians and seeing how they prepare can be educational.”