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‘Last year, my head had gone’ – Inverness discus thrower Kirsty Law on bouncing back after tough period

Law claimed a silver medal at the UK Athletics Championships.

Kirsty Law has been selected for her second Commonwealth Games
Kirsty Law.

It may have come after one of the most challenging periods of Kirsty Law’s career, but the silver medal won at last weekend’s UK Athletics Championships has given the Inverness discus thrower a much-needed shot of vigour ahead of next year’s Paris Olympics.

Just over a year ago, such a scenario seemed unforeseeable. A series of below-par throws at an early season competition in Spain – all while coping with a labral tear – left Law so emotionally shattered that she would have preferred to be anywhere else in the world than the discus circle.

What a difference a year and a half can make. In Manchester, Law unleashed a third-round throw of 57.30m – her best effort of the season – to take a silver medal at Sportcity.

It means that since 2011, the 36-year-old has collected 12 UK Championship medals: five bronze, five silver, and two gold. Some record, but none of those medals have come after such a period of frustration and soul-searching.

“Last year, my head had gone,” Law admitted.

“I didn’t want to do it anymore. Mentally, it was so, so hard – I didn’t want to do the UK Championships, I didn’t want to go to the Commonwealth Games, I didn’t want to do the Euros – I didn’t want to do any of that.

“I remember being in Spain, and I threw, and it was the worst competition – I just remember crying my eyes out afterwards. I called my husband and my friend Jade Lally was with him. I told them ‘I don’t want to do this anymore – I can’t do it’.

“I just completely broke down last year – I hit rock bottom then. You get so consumed with the sport and everything, you just lose sight of everything else.”

Kirsty Law.

Law’s husband Andrew, and coach Zane Duquemin, helped alleviate much of the strain Law was shouldering. As with many high-level athletes, Law had been pushed right to the edge before realising she needed a hard dose of real life – socialising, time with friends, and time away from the Loughborough’s high performance facility.

“I had the two weeks off [in spring last year] and then managed to get myself into a better place.

“My husband got a lot [of my frustration], but the main person who got it last year was my coach. He’s an athlete, and he knows what we’re all going through. I spoke to him all the time. He got all the voice notes – he got me through last year along with my husband.”

Now, things are looking rather more positive. Law may have had a quiet season compared to some of her other campaigns – she has competed eight times so far in 2023 – but from a mental perspective, the energy and capacity to apply herself is back.

“The UK Champs have given me the confidence that I think I needed,” she said. “I was throwing better in training and more consistently high-50s, so I was happy to throw 57 metres in Mancheser.

“I was only going to do the Scottish championships and then finish the season, but I feel I’ve got another couple of metres in me – it’s not as if I creamed that throw [that won the silver medal].

“I’m looking forward to the end of the season so I can take ten days off and recover. Normally, I would have more time off than that, but because I’ve missed so much, I don’t want to take much of a break. I just want enough time for my body to recover and get back into it – I want to give next year everything.”

Athlete Kirsty Law specialises in the discus throw

With Zoey Clark’s and Kelsey Stewart’s seasons both ended by long-term injuries, Alisha Rees and Rebecca Matheson were the north-easts only sprinters to take to the track.

Rees, who had been hoping to return to form and give herself a chance of selection for the World Championships later this summer, suffered a serious hamstring strain in the final of the women’s 100m. The injury for the London-based sprinter may well spell the end of her 2023 campaign. Also competing in the 100m was Keith’s Rebecca Matheson, and although performance did not see her qualify for the final, a time of 12.05sec was still her second fastest of the season.

In the 800m, Aberdeen’s Hannah Cameron attacked the opening lap in a bid to gain automatic qualification for the final; but the 25-year-old, who has been in excellent form this year, was unable to stick with the leading pack in the final 150m.

Her final time of 2:05.35sec saw her finish 0.78sec outside the qualifying time which would have seen her reach her second consecutive UK Championship final.

She said: “I think there was only one way to run the race. It was top two in each heat and I was third fastest going into it, so I had to take it out or they’d be no chance. I needed to give myself the best chance to qualify.”

Cameron will look to defend her Scottish 800m title in Grangemouth next month.

Fellow 800m runner, Aberdeen teenager Hannah Taylor, closed her season by lining up against World Championship silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson. Taylor’s final time of 2:15.11sec was some way off her season’s best, but the Scottish Schools 400m and 800m champion will soon embark upon a new chapter when she moves to the University of Central Florida next month.

She said: “It’s just a nice big adventure, really. Until the middle of last year, I’d had coaches get in touch with me and recruiters saying it’s a great opportunity to come to America, but I just thought ‘no, no’. And then it was only at the end of the summer season last year that I thought it was maybe something I want to try.

“Hopefully I can come to these champs next year and be a bit more competitive.”

In the 100m hurdles, Jane Davidson returned to the stadium where she won the British University Championships in May as she finished sixth in a heat containing former world heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson.

A knee problem prevented Davidson from running her best, but the 22-year-old said she is determined to retain her Scottish senior title in Grangemouth.

“The injury is about just managing the inflammation – it’s not going to disappear rapidly.

“I’ve got good physios in Aberdeen and I’ve been working with them. It’s about being a smart athlete and knowing what to do and what not to do at training.

“There are a few more competitions to go, but Scottish Championships are the big aim. I want to go and retain my Scottish title.”