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Athletics: High jumper Claire McGarvey wants to keep improving personal best – with Commonwealth Games in her sights

Aberdeenshire high jumper Claire McGarvey.
Aberdeenshire high jumper Claire McGarvey.

Claire McGarvey got 2022 off to a flying start but the Aberdeenshire high jumper aims to soar to another level in the months ahead.

The 20-year-old Banchory athlete opened her indoor season with a lifetime best performance in the Scottish open meeting at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena.

She started with a first round jump of 1.63 metres, progressed to 1.68, then 1.73, before clearing an impressive 1.78, which is a significant improvement on her previous best of 1.74 set outdoors at Grangemouth in 2019.

It’s the 11th highest height on the Scottish indoors all-time best performers list, but McGarvey believes there’s much more to come.

She said: “I didn’t think I’d manage to come out and jump like that straightaway, so it’s a good start. But I aim to do better and I want to get over 1.80 by the end of indoor season.

“I know I could have done better on a couple of the jumps I made at Glasgow. Even the 1.78 wasn’t perfect so, with some adjustments, I’m confident I can go higher.”

McGarvey, who is studying neuroscience at Glasgow University, has never competed overseas before, but hopes a trip to Hustopeče in the Czech Republic next month will provide an exciting opportunity to achieve her goal.

It’s the venue where fellow Scot Nikki Manson (Giffnock North AC) set a Scottish indoor record of 1.93 in 2020.

McGarvey said: “There has been some talk about me going there depending on the Covid situation. It would be an amazing opportunity for me as it’s a massive competition.

“Nikki jumped 1.93 there two years ago and other British athletes have done well there. It’s held in a sports hall, but there seems to be a very springy surface, which helps.”

Aberdeenshire high jumper Claire McGarvey.

Before that, however, McGarvey has the Scottish championships to aim for later this month.

She has done well at national level in recent years, winning the under-20 indoor title in 2020 and picking up a silver medal in her first appearance at the senior outdoor championships last summer.

She said: “It should be a good competition if everyone shows up. The standard of high jumping in Scotland is high at the moment, but I haven’t seen the start list yet.

“It looks like this will be the busiest indoor season I’ve had as I’ve now qualified for the British championships and there’s also the British universities and colleges championships to look forward to.”

McGarvey is also thinking ahead to what promises to be an exciting summer campaign.

And while the Team Scotland qualifying standard of 1.85 for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games might seem a bar too high, McGarvey isn’t ruling it out.

She said: “It’s not easy, but I really want to push myself and give it a real go. It’s not totally out of range, but it would still be a big jump to get there.

“But, even if I was to get it, there’s no guarantee of going to the Games as it’s such a small team with only 23 places available for all athletics events.

“Not everyone who gets a qualifying standard might be selected.”

If a Commonwealth place doesn’t materialise, McGarvey is still keen to win a Scotland vest in any other international matches which might come along.

She said: “I’ve only represented Scotland as a junior in the Celtic Games a few years ago, so it would be good to get a senior vest.”

Run Garioch entry fees reduced

Run Garioch.

Entry fees for this year’s Run Garioch races have been reduced as organisers recognise the financial difficulties many people have experienced throughout the pandemic.

The races, last held in 2019, return to the streets of Inverurie on Sunday May 15 and entries are now being taken.

Race director Graham Morrison stressed the future of the popular event is by no means totally secure, but praised the support they have received from the local community and is keen to recognise these efforts.

He said: “Despite the huge success of our Go Green for Garioch virtual event last year and the continued support of many of our sponsors and patrons, 2022 will be a tough year for Run Garioch.

“We will need the support of all our local runners, charities and businesses to ensure the sustainability of the event for 2023 and beyond.

“In order to ensure as many runners as possible can take part after what have been difficult financial times for many, entry fees have been reduced across the board.

“RG2022 is very much about us working in partnership with the community to help us all recover from the pandemic, in terms of rebuilding our mental and physical health, re-establishing community links and having the confidence to get involved.”

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