STEPH Twell will go to next month’s world indoor championships in Oregon with a spring in her step after winning the 3,000 metres at the British Indoor Championships yesterday.
The 26-year-old, who missed the London 2012 Olympics due to a broken ankle, powered away from fellow Scot Jo Moultrie in the final in Sheffield, with each breaking the nine-minute barrier to make them certain inclusions when the GB team for Portland is finalised today. Twell said: “I want to be there. It’s a global championships.”
For Moultrie, who has overcome her own health issues, it will be a first, but for Twell it is the chance to see what might be accomplished following top-12 placings at last year’s world championships and European cross-country.
“I don’t think anything has really clicked,” she added. “It’s about having faith in the small routines on a daily basis.
“After Euro Cross, that was a turning point for me, knowing I’m getting close to the front again. That had me thinking, ‘I know what I’m doing and it’s coming together’.”
With Chris O’Hare sitting out but asking for a place in Portland, and a sprint quandary centred on defending 60m champion Richard Kilty, the other selection dilemma will surround Lynsey Sharp, who missed the chance to cement her place by slipping to third behind Adelle Tracey in the 800m.
Ranked first in the UK, she has prevaricated over going to the championships. “My coach has always had it in my programme,” the ex-European champion said. “I’ve always said no. I have to speak to him but it’s up to selectors now.”
At 17, Cameron Tindle’s goals are longer-term but he achieved his target of taking the Scottish indoor 200m record by running 21.14 seconds in his heat before coming sixth in the final. “World juniors is definitely my summer target,” said Tindle, a world youth finalist last year.
Elsewhere, Maddie Murray in the 1,500m and Sarah Warnock in the long jump claimed bronzes, with Anna Gordon, 19, raising the Scottish Under-20 pole vault mark to 4.00m in coming third to Sally Peake.
Should Beth Potter and Andrew Butchart crown Olympic year with GB vests in Rio come the summer, they may well look back on a February day in Falkirk as a key staging in their 2016 journey.
If they do not, and there are never any guarantees in athletics, then they will still be able to reflect on winning their second Scottish National XC titles at Callendar Park with a deep sense of pride.
Butchart for his part turned down the opportunity to win a British title at 3,000m indoors in Sheffield on Saturday – and chase World Indoors selection – in order to deliver a successful Senior Men’s title defence. The Dunblane-based athlete’s victory also helped lead his club, Central AC, to a remarkable six-in-a-row in the Men’s team race.
Potter, too, is a serial winner over the mud and hills of Falkirk, having won age-group golds and other medals before taking her first Senior Women’s championship back in 2013. She followed that up emphatically on Saturday.
“I really enjoyed that,” said Potter, as she came home in 29.45 over the 8K course and well clear of Fionnuala Ross of Shettleston and Rosie Smith of Hunters Bog Trotters. Olympian Freya Ross, the six-times winner, came fourth this time in her comeback year.
“My coach, Mick Woods, told me to sit-in on the first lap and advised me not to make too much of a break or go off like a rabbit,” said Potter. “In the end, that’s exactly what I did! I just got up the first hill, felt pretty good and wanted to keep it going.”
Potter and Butchart both now have Olympic qualification standards on their minds and will soon swap central Scotland for the United States.
“I am going to try to chase it at both 5,000m and 10,000m and will give it my best shot,” said Potter, who represented Scotland at Hampden in the Commonwealth Games and GB in the Europeans in Zurich also over 10,000m in 2014.