Athletics: Athletes riled by long waits in Emirates call-up area

The new Emirates Arena 
indoor running track in 
Glasgow came through its first championship test with flying colours when Scottish Athletics staged a successful Scottish Open Indoor with a bumper entry of 600 on Saturday.

Judging by the quality of the performances, the track is fast and lots of records can be anticipated when the sell-out Great Britain international is staged there on Saturday.

The size of the entry was probably the reason for the one major complaint – that athletes had to hang around waiting in the call-up area without their tracksuits on for relatively long periods.

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Despite the delays, New Year Sprint third-placer Gemma Nicol (Dunfermline) set a personal best time of 24.21 secs in winning her heat of the 200 metres.

“That’s an indoor personal best and very close to my outdoor best,” said Nicol, whose previous best times were both set some years ago. Her indoor best of 24.67 came back in 2005 and her outdoor best of 24.13 was attained in 2006.

“We were kept waiting with our tracksuits off for 20 minutes before running and I’m sure had I been warmer I’d have run faster,” said the 26-year-old 400m specialist, who is aiming for her third Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year. “But it’s going in the right 

Her training partner, Capital-based Jamie Bowie (Inverness), was even more annoyed at the delays.

“We were told we had to sit in the call-up area in shorts and vest, only to have to wait 40 minutes,” said Bowie, who was far from amused despite having the fastest time in the 400m (48.05) and being second fastest in the 200m in 21.96. Former Scottish 200m champion Ryan Oswald (Pitreavie) was fastest in the 60m, winning his heat in 6.93 secs, while Scottish long jump record-holder Jade Nimmo (Grangemouth) showed a sharp turn of pace to top the women’s 60m results with 7.73.

Oswald completed a swift double by taking the 200m in 21.90.

New Year Sprint winner Ben Robbins (Edinburgh AC) was slightly off target in coming third to Bowie and Anthony Young (Pitreavie) in 22.34 in the second 200m heat.

“Ben ran really well for the first 100 and was up on everyone but didn’t finish well,” said coach Dave Goodall.

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Lasswade’s Guy Learmonth was impressive in a two-man heat, the last of 26, in the 
800m, cruising to victory in 1:49.73.

“I just wound it up and got faster with each lap – that’s two seconds faster than my previous best season opener,” said the Loughborough University student whose flight to Glasgow from East Midlands was cancelled on Friday night due to the weather and who then took the train home to Berwick and drove through on Saturday morning.

“The journey was a bit of nightmare – I didn’t get into Berwick till almost midnight – but I’m pleased with the run.”