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Scotland’s track and field athletes’ top Commonwealth performance

Scotland's Lynsey Sharp celebrates her silver medal in the Women's 800m
Scotland's Lynsey Sharp celebrates her silver medal in the Women's 800m

Scotland’s track and field athletes at Glasgow 2014 posted the country’s best Commonwealth Games performance since the boycotted Edinburgh 1986.

The tally of four medals earned by Libby Clegg (gold), Eilidh Child and Lynsey Sharp (silver) and Mark Dry (bronze) was the best since a haul of five in Auckland in 1990.

But a ‘points table’ for top eight finishes in finals, widely regarded as the best barometer for athletics at the Commonwealth Games, showed Scotland finished in 8th place with 73 points.

It was the best figure since the tally of 107 from Edinburgh 1986 when the absence of a number of nations made final places and top eight finishes easier to achieve.

Scotland’s overall performance has won endorsement from track legend, Allan Wells, and Nigel Holl, chief executive of governing body scottishathletics, who believe the future is bright with many of the Glasgow 2014 squad under the age of 23.

England were the top nation in track, field and marathon with Australia in second place and Kenya in third. Scotland amassed 73 points with no fewer than 22 athletes contributing to that tally – 18 individuals and the 4 x 400m men’s team, who finished fifth in last Saturday’s final.

New Zealand (on population) and Wales are often ‘comparator’ nations for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games and the 8th place at Glasgow 2014 place comfortably eclipsed those two countries

‘We had an agreed and stated medal target of ‘more than two’ and that was achieved with four medals in athletics which is a source of satisfaction but not complacency,’ said Nigel Holl.

‘Over the next few weeks we will of course undertake detailed review and analysis of performance. That review that will capture the essential lessons and learning from selection policy, the build-up to the Games and the actual performances at Glasgow 2014.

‘We will absorb that detail and we will look to the future to ensure that the concepts that worked, and those which maybe didn’t work quite as well, are clear and insightful for future scottishathletics teams, coaches and programmes.

‘The team as a whole performed. By that team I mean athletes, coaches, medical staff and administrators. It is no surprise that with 57 athletes competing there were those who stepped up and delighted audiences; those who delivered exactly what you would expect; and others for whom the pressure of the Home Games effect may have ensured they were not at their best. Athletes are human, after all.

‘I am left satisfied by the medal haul and the points tally is good in the context of top eight finishes. Medals in athletics were hard won in Glasgow, I don’t think there is any doubt about that.

‘The most encouraging aspect for us at scottishathletics is that 30 of the team were aged 23 or under – really quite young in terms of competing at major competitions.

‘Just experiencing the ‘Hampden Roar’ – the inspiration but also the expectation and pressure that stirred – will help them in the future.

‘I saw plenty to make me feel sure that the next 10 years look very positive indeed for athletics in Scotland with the help of athletes, coaches and clubs as well as volunteers and officials. All of those are vital for the sport’s well-being in a team effort.’

Glasgow 2014 Ambassador and Commonwealth and Olympic medallist Wells said: ‘What Scotland’s athletes did at Hampden was reasonable. We have to bepretty happy with four medals.

‘It is a young team. Many of them are still learning about themselves and about the big moments in sport. I was 26 when I went to the Commonwealth Games for the first time so there’s the majority of this team under that age.

‘Let’s see if they can step-up a wee bit over the next few years. Can they use Glasgow 2014 as the platform? Everybody has to be so professional – I mean the governing body, the athletes, the coaches.

‘The attitude must be 100 percent and the motivation has to be right. That can come from coaches as well as the athletes themselves. It is so important.’

Seven Scottish athletes were picked by Team GB and NI for the European Champs in Zurich next week, including Hampden medallists Sharp and Child. Laura Muir will be looking to recover from her 1500m final appearance in Glasgow which faltered on the final 100m. Jake Wightman has had to withdraw with the hamstring injury which troubled him at Hampden.

The Team Scotland athletes who contributed to the points tally at the Commonwealth Games and their final places were as follows:

Susan Partridge 6, Libby Clegg 1, Susan McKelvie 6, Rachel Hunter 7, Beth Potter 5, Eilish McColgan 6, Kirsty Yates 8, Eilidh Child 2, Sammi Kinghorn 5, Meggan Dawson-Farrell 7, Lynsey Sharp 2, Laura Whittle 6.

Jason MacLean 5, Mark Dry 3, Guy Learmonth 6, Stephen Lisgo 8, Jax Thoirs 4, Chris O’Hare 6.

Mens 4 x 400m (Kris Robertson, Grant Plenderleith, Jamie Bowie, Greg Louden) 5.

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