Scottish athletics stars converge on Grangemouth for Senior Championships
Former medallists, Glasgow 2014 internationals and emergent GB prospects from across Scotland will gather at the Scottish National Senior Championships in Grangemouth this weekend.
And footballer-turned-sprinter Grant Plenderleith hopes to salvage his season at the historic 125th edition of the event on Saturday and Sunday.
Falkirk Victoria Harriers athlete Plenderleith is one of the guests who will carry the Queen’s Baton Relay around the Grangemouth track on Saturday morning prior to the start of the Scottish Seniors and U17 Champs, which have attracted almost 700 competitors.
Then the 26-year-old, who played for Stenhousemuir before switching to the track and featuring in a National 4 x 400m Relay Record at Hampden at Glasgow 2014, will look to put 10 weeks of injury frustration behind him.
‘I’m involved in the Baton Relay on Saturday but while that will be a nice moment, this weekend is all about me trying to save something from my season,’ said Grant, who won the Scottish 200m title at the same venue last year.
‘It started well with some good runs early season, including a 100m windy PB and representing Scotland at the Loughborough International. But I suffered a hamstring tear and was out for 10 weeks in total.
‘For the Senior Champs, I’m entered the 400m and the 200m so there’s a final decision to be made. But, for something like the 125th Scottish Senior Champs, you want to be part of that if you can and it’s on my home track at Grangemouth.
‘If I can pull out a good performance on the day then I won’t feel like it is a completely wasted year.’
Joining Plenderleith in action this weekend could be a clutch of his Scotland team-mates from Glasgow 2014 including high jumper David Smith, long jumpers Sarah Warnock and Jade Nimmo, 400m hurdler Kirsten McAslan, 800m runner Emily Dudgeon and throwers Kirsty Law, Andy Frost, Kirsty Yates, Myra Perkins, Susan McKelvie and Angus McInroy.
Discus thrower Law will bid for a remarkable 10th Scottish Senior title and her current run of successive wins stands at six-in-a-row. Law captained Scotland at the Manchester International last week where she won the discus event.
Pole vaulter Jax Thoirs, fourth at Hampden, is looking to nail down another Gold Coast 2018 standard and GB prospects like Jemma Reekie, the European U20 champion at 1500m, Jack Lawrie, Sol Sweeney, Kelsey Stewart, Mhairi Hendry, Jill Cherry and Holly McArthur help add further depth and quality.
Add a handful of visitors from Ireland and England and there should be a number of exciting contests for what it part of the Team Scotland series for summer 2017 ahead of the next Commonwealth Games next April.
Organisers scottishathletics have set-up a live steam for the fourth successibe year through runjumpthrow.com and a collaboration with the Vinco bideo team means that footage will be available in Canada and the United States.
There will be a real sense of history attached to the 125th edition, with the Seniors having started way back in 1883 with run of competition only broken on two occasions by the outbreak of World War, which saw no event take place in 10 of the affected years.
With the U17 Champs a big draw for clubs from all over the country, as well as Para events featuring the likes of Glasgow 2014 runner Lewis Clow, it will once again be a hectic weekend - including a large cohort of scottishathletics Officials who were on duty at London 2017.
‘We actually had to hold back the date of the Senior Champs because so many of our Officials were at London 2017 and we wanted them involved at Grangemouth,’ said scottishathletics chief executive, Mark Munro.
‘It’s a big weekend forus and an exciting one. As well as those bidding for the podium, this is about our best club athletes at Senior level competing for PBs and finals and we strongly believe competition is very important.
‘We added the Scottish U17 Champs to the Seniors weekend last year and the pilot proved a success. It adds to the two days and has the benefit of showing those teenagers what they can aim for in terms of stepping up in the next couple of years, with many of our U20s competing in the Seniors.
‘There’s definitley a feel-good factor in our sport at the moment after the European age groups, World Para Champs and the World Champs with 16 Scots involved there. It all comes from hard work at clubs by coaches and volunteers and I hope to see many of them this weekend at Grangemouth.
More on www.scottishathletics.org.uk