Scottish athletics will have its greatest presence in a Great Britain Olympics track and field team in over 100 years.
Fifteen Scottish athletes – seven men and eight women – have been selected for Rio, with hammer throwers Mark Dry and Chris Bennett making a late entry into the team, along with Laura Whittle, who was given the nod to join compatriots Steph Twell and Eilish McColgan in the 5000m.
British Athletics have named a 80-strong squad for next month’s games and the wealth of Scottish competitors makes, arguably, the strongest representation since the Munich games in 1972.
Scotland contributed 12 athletes to the mix back then but that tally has been surpassed this year, with a total that is effectively the best ever.
In 1908, 17 athletes were included in the team for London but that was at a time when there was no cap on the number of entrants any nation could submit for each event.
“We’re absolutely delighted with the Scottish representation on the GB and NI team for Rio,” said Rodger Harkins, Scottish Athletics’ director of coaching.
“First and foremost, of course, it is terrific for the athletes involved and all the credit should go to them and their coaches for putting in the years of hard work that’s required to reach Olympic selection.
“We firmly congratulate all of them and the clubs involved in developing these athletes over many years. We talk a lot about ‘Perform When It Counts’ and these 15 athletes have certainly done that over recent weeks and months.
“There was a figure within the sport that set the target at six Scots to be selected for Rio. To be more than double that number is remarkable and I’d stress again that the qualifying standards set the bar pretty high.
“At the European Championships last week, seven Scots competed in finals and all of them came up with top ten finishes. Three or four of those were disappointed they didn’t get closer to the medals and that was also a sign of a good attitude – we’ve athletes who now believe they can be really competitive at a high level.”
Team GB chef de mission Mark England added: “Track and field is one of the showpiece sports of an Olympic Games and in these 80 athletes we have a team full of the ability, pedigree and experience to match the spectacle.
“With well over 300 athletes now selected and just over three weeks to go until the start of the Games, Team GB, with an estimated 360 athletes in total, is shaping up to be the most talented team we’ve ever taken to an Olympic Games.”
Scottish athletes in Team GB
Men: 1500m - Chris O’Hare, 5000m - Andrew Butchart, Hammer - Mark Dry and Chris Bennett, Marathon - Callum Hawkins, Tsegai Tewelde and Derek Hawkins.
Women: 800m - Lynsey Sharp, 1500m - Laura Muir, 5000m - Eilish McColgan, Stephanie Twell, Laura Whittle, 10,000m - Beth Potter, 3000m steeplechase - Lennie Waite, 400m hurdles - Eilidh Doyle