Athletics: Scott gives hurdles a body swerve and opts for rugby

IN what is a major disappointment for Scottish athletics, Capital high hurdler Allan Scott has ruled himself out of this year's Commonwealth Games in Delhi and may not race again.

But he could yet become a star in his new sport – rugby.

"I've spent a lot of time thinking about this and have decided to do something else. My feeling is now is the time to move on," said the 27-year-old Edinburgh-based Beijing Olympian in an exclusive interview.

Remarkably, but for a hamstring injury picked up this month, Scott might have been in contention for a place in Delhi in rugby sevens.

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Ranked second in the 60 metres sprint behind Scottish champion Nick Smith two years ago, Scott has been training with the National Rugby Sevens squad and was due to turn out for them in the Glasgow Sevens this month when injury intervened.

"I pulled a hamstring playing for Murrayfield Wanderers in the Boroughmuir Sevens," said Scott. "I'd scored seven or eight tries.

"Rugby is something I'd always wanted to do – my dad played and I really enjoy it – it's something completely new."

Explaining why he had chosen a Commonwealth Games year to quit the track, Scott added: "I felt I'd taken athletics to the point where it was hard to see any improvement. I'd worked as hard as I could to get where I did but hadn't a chance of a medal.

"I made the quarter-final in Beijing but felt I should have made the semi-final, and indoors I got to a World final but wasn't close. 2009 was a write-off through injury and I still wasn't right at the start of this year and it might have taken the whole of 2010 to get fit for 2011.

"Unless you're winning medals no one's interested and I don't want to arrive at 30 and not have done anything. As for Delhi, the timing's very difficult with it being in October and really it would mean another year down the line."

Scott, a sports science graduate from Stirling University, would like to begin a teacher training course this autumn, the start of which would clash with the Commonwealth Games.

His current coach Stuart Hogg, who took over from Bob Somerville after the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, is reconciled to the Whitemoss, East Kilbride club member moving on.

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Scott has a best time of 13.53 secs, set in 2008, but last season failed to get inside the 2010 Commonwealth Games Scottish selection standard of 13.70.

"I don't think he fulfilled his potential," reflected Somerville sadly.