Nostalgia: Amateur games still have competitive edge

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After 50 years of coaching some of Scotland’s best athletes, Bill Walker, 75, from Broughton still loves working at Meadowbank Stadium and never gets bored of the competition.

When he began coaching in 1960, he described athletics as an amateur sport compared to the professional stance it has now.

He said: “Back in the sixties, people took part for the love of running - nothing to do with how much they would be paid.

“It was much more university based rather than clubs.

“I remember when the stadium would be filled at the Edinburgh Highland Games, it was such a highlight and people would gather from all over.

“Mainly because it wasn’t expensive at all, it would probably cost around £30,000 to put on the full event but now you’d be around that for one athlete to attend.”

Mr Walker has worked with many top sporting stars including John Walker in the 1970s after he broke the record of running a mile in less than four minutes.

Many of Mr Walker’s athletes have gone on to take part in the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics.

He said: “I coach voluntary, we all do at Meadowbank Stadium.

“My payback is seeing my team do well.

“We win most of the competitions we enter.

“The Edinburgh Athletics Club has recently won the UK Women’s League as well as the UK Young Athletes Development League.

“However, one thing that would help our athletes even more would be better facilities.

“If the Edinburgh stadium had been kept up to date and modernised, we would
still have one of the top venues.”