It’s out with the old and in with the new for the New Year Sprint at Musselburgh Racecourse on Monday, December 31 and New Year’s Day, with many of the veterans missing from the entry this year but an encouraging influx of new young athletes.
The back-marker in a field of just over 70 is the remarkable Morro Bajo, the 16-year-old Gambian-born sprinter who lives in Edinburgh with his mother and who is coached by Bill Walker at Meadowbank.
The Edinburgh AC flyer, who is the third fastest senior in the country with his best time for 100 metres of 10.76 seconds and second fastest behind Commonwealth Youth Games gold medallist Tom Holligan in the 200 metres with 21.77, has been allocated 3.5 metres. He will give away starts of up to over 30 metres for the famous 110 metres handicap, which again carries a first prize of £4000.
“It’s a bit of tall order,” commented coach Walker, “but he likes chasing athletes and the handicap system could suit him.”
Another New Year “novice” Allan Hamilton, who is the Scottish junior long jump champion, is second back marker off 4.00m and appears to have been even more harshly treated as he had no recorded times under 11 seconds last season for 100 metres.
The grandson of veteran EAC head coach George Sinclair, Hamilton is a student at Queen Margaret University and is coached by John Scott, but was hampered by injury last season.
Third on the grid off 4.5m is Portobello’s Kieran Kivlin (EAC), who won the big Jed Sprint and knows how to handle pressure in a tight finish.
He has the Scottish 400 metres champion, Edinburgh-based Jamie Bowie (Inverness), .25m up on him, with Londoner Stuart Aimer off 5.00m and the 2012 winner Graeme Lister (Kirkcaldy) off 5.75m.
The draw will take place at Musselburgh Racecourse on Monday, December 3 at 11.30am.