Park, hammer of the Scots, throws his weight into Commonwealth contention

ATHLETICS: Hammer thrower Iain Park was first to book his place in Manchester as he finished runner-up, but leading Scot, behind visiting AAA silver-medallist Paul Head in the Scottish Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games Trials at Glasgow’s Scotstoun Stadium yesterday. Head won with 68.35m.

Park, who missed a month of training in January following an attack of meningitis, has enjoyed a breakthrough season, bettering his previous best distance by almost three metres and achieving the Games qualifying mark no fewer than eight times.

Yesterday, Park’s third-round throw of 66.13m, just 7cm down on his best, was his only legal effort of the day. When he went for a big one, he produced it but the hammer landed out of the sector at 67m, giving the Feltham-based thrower encouragement that his best form is yet to come.

Falkirk pole-vaulter Richard Herron, meanwhile, is finding it difficult to live with other people’s expectations. The 18-year-old, who cleared 4.90m indoors earlier this year, finds himself under pressure to make the 5m Manchester qualifying height.

"Back then it seemed easier than it does now," he said at Scotstoun. "And each competition you think that time is running out."

Yesterday, he cleared a best of 4.60m but this was his second attempt. Giffnock’s Matthew Dorrian managed the same height first time, and claimed the title. "I expect to beat him eight times out of 10," said Herron. "I’m disappointed."

With 18-year-old AAA junior champion Aileen Wilson another of the many Scots nursing injuries, the high-jump title went to Glasgow’s Hazel Melvin, one of four to clear 1.65m but winning on countback.

Dentist Navdeep Dhaliwal (C of Glasgow) retained the discus title with an effort of 44.15m. But for many in Glasgow, with the accent on the Games and Manchester, Scottish Championship success was not quite enough. "I would have liked to have got a personal best as close to the 52m qualifying mark as possible," she explained.

Elsewhere, triple jump world record holder Jonathan Edwards defeated a top class field to win the Memorial Primo Nebiolo meeting in Turin, chalking up his second win in two days after competing in Milan.

His winning jump was a healthy clearance of 17.18 metres after his huge 17.67m performance in his opening contest, gave Edwards’ season a dream start.