Athletics: Eilidh Child steps up Sopot bid

Eilidh Child is now back to full fitness after a calf tear. Pic: Getty
Eilidh Child is now back to full fitness after a calf tear. Pic: Getty
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Given the pivotal role she played in Team GB’s gold medal 4 x 400 metres victory in the European Indoors in Gothenburg last year, it is hard to imagine the British team going to the World Indoors in Sopot, Poland next month without Scotland’s Eilidh Child being at least in the relay squad.

But the 25-year-old Pitreavie 400 metres hurdles specialist, who was the individual flat 400m silver medallist behind teammate Perri Shakes-Drayton in Sweden, still has some work to do to claim an individual place in Sopot. Her immediate task in tomorrow’s Sainsbury’s Grand Prix in Birmingham is to achieve the qualifying standard of 53.15 secs after two performances at the Glasgow International at the Emirates last month and the British Indoors at Sheffield last Sunday which were well outside her personal best of 51.45 secs.

“I missed a month’s training before Christmas due to a calf muscle tear but I’m fine now,” Child revealed after finishing fourth in the Sheffield final in 53.68 secs, with victory going to Linford Christie protege Margaret Adeoye, who is better known as a 200 metres runner.

Adeoye is the only one of her British rivals to be invited for the A race tomorrow, the others, including runner-up Laura Wake, third-placed Meghan Beesley, 2013 relay gold medallist Shana Cox and Victoria Ohuruogu being allotted a B race.

But also facing Child in the A race will be two Commonwealth rivals Reginia George (Nigeria) and Kahliese Spencer (Jamaica).

Capital-based Jamie Bowie (Inverness) goes in the men’s 400 metres B race but, with six places up for grabs in the relay pool, he must still have a reasonable chance, provided he gets a better start than he has done of late.

The East Lothian part-time athletics development officer finished a disappointing fifth in Sheffield in 47.83, but is certainly capable of getting in the mix if he can match his best time of 46.65. The men’s 800 metres runners have been promised one of the best pace-makers on the circuit, Dutchman Brad Som, for their four-lap tour round the National Indoor Arena tomorrow and Lasswade’s Guy Learmonth needs to take full advantage if he is to achieve the World qualifying standard of 1:47.00.

Having opened with a useful 1:47.80 in Vienna last month, Learmonth struggled to keep up with a sluggish pace at Sheffield and never looked like snatching the victory which would have at least strengthened his claims.

That went to Mukhtar Mohammed, who, provided he gets the standard, will be sure to go, along with the disqualified Andrew Osagie, who already has the necessary time.

Edinburgh’s Chris O’Hare, meanwhile, is also chasing a qualifying time but is off to New York tomorrow to contest the Wannamaker Mile at the Millrose Games, an event he has already starred in when he set an NCAA record and Scottish indoor best of 3:52.98 in finishing fourth a year ago.

Among the formidable field will be last year’s winner Lawi Lalang (Arizona), American record holder Alan Webb who is retiring after this race and New Zealand’s Nick Willis, the 2006 Commonwealth champion.

Kris Gauson, fourth in the British indoor event, gets his chance in the Birmingham GP 1500 metres.

Capital high jump silver medallist Allan Smith gives Birmingham a miss but training partner and Scottish native record-holder David Smith comes in instead.