Scottish athletics: Medals in Munich is the aim after 40-year high in Birmingham

Scottish athletes hit a 40-year high in Birmingham where the eight-medal haul was the best at a Commonwealth Games since 1982 in Brisbane.

Scotland's Laura Muir celebrates her gold medal in the 1500m final at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
Scotland's Laura Muir celebrates her gold medal in the 1500m final at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

Thirteen of the team will get to do it all again next week when they represent Great Britain at the European Championships in Munich.

Eilish McColgan, Laura Muir and Jake Wightman are the headline acts but they will be ably supported by the likes of Jemma Reekie, Neil Gourley and Birmingham relay medallists Beth Dobbin, Nicole Yeargin and Zoey Clark.

Back in 1982 it was the sprinters who led the way, winning five of Scotland’s ten medals, including two golds for Allan Wells, in the 100 and 200 metres.

Bronze medallists Zoey Clark, Beth Dobbin, Jill Cherry and Nicole Yeargin celebrate following the medal ceremony for the women's 4 x 400m relay. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Advertisement

Hide Ad

In Birmingham last week it was the middle and long distance runners who dominated, with McColgan and Muir stealing the show. They delivered two medals apiece and won Scotland’s first track golds in eight years.

For David Ovens, the chair of Scottish Athletics, it made for compelling drama as he watched a special group reap the rewards of years of dedication. McColgan, 31, and Muir, 29, are the antithesis of overnight success stories and their gold medals, in the 10,000m and 1500m respectively, were the culmination of decades of graft.

The same could be said of Wightman, 28, who added Commonwealth bronze in the men’s 1500m to the world gold he won in Oregon last month. He will go in the 800m in Munich.

“We’ve got a group of athletes in Scotland with an incredible work ethic,” said Ovens, a decent 1500m runner himself in his day. “They work hard, they’ve got good coaches and they believe they can win medals and we saw that in Birmingham.”

Advertisement

Hide Ad
David Ovens, chair of Scottish Athletics. Picture: Bobby Gavin

Read More

Read More
Commonwealth Games athletics success for Scotland could lead to increased fundin...

Ovens is hopeful of more success in Germany.

“We’ve got 13 Scots going to Munich and again you’d expect there to be some medal chances. Jake Wightman won on Wednesday night in Monaco in the Diamond League, setting a Scottish record in the 1000m.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

“Jake’s going in the 800m in Munich, Neil Gourley in the 1500m. We’ve got Jemma Reekie in the 800m, Laura in the 1500, and Eilish too – you’d have to say Eilish is a shout for a medal.”

McColgan won 5000m silver when the European Championships was last staged, in Berlin in 2018, while Muir is defending the title she won in the German capital.

Scotland’s excellence in middle and long-distance is rightly lauded but Ovens is keen to strengthen across all disciplines.

“I was delighted that the very last medal in Birmingham was 4x400m,” he said. “Every medal before that was middle distance or endurance.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

“We’ve always had a strong tradition in middle distance, going back to the Eighties, with Liz McColgan, Paul Forbes, Brian Whittle, Tom McKean, Yvonne Murray - all great role models.

“But if you look at Birmingham we also had quite a strong team across sprints and throws. There is clearly strength in endurance but work to be done in the sprints and the throws and we’re conscious of that as an organisation. Scottish Athletics is there to support and facilitate. It’s all ultimately around the club structure but we know we have to do more around the throws, jumps and sprint side of things.”

The 13 Scots in British athletics team for European Championships in Munich, August 15-21

WOMEN

Advertisement

Hide Ad

200m and 4x100m: Beth Dobbin

400m and 4x400m: Nicole Yeargin

800m: Jemma Reekie

1500m: Laura Muir

Advertisement

Hide Ad

5000m, 10,000m: Eilish McColgan

4x400m: Zoey Clark

Discus: Kirsty Law

MEN

Advertisement

Hide Ad

800m: Jake Wightman

1500m: Neil Gourley

5000m: Andy Butchart

Marathon: Luke Caldwell

Advertisement

Hide Ad

Discus: Nick Percy

High Jump: David Smith

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.