High jumper Jayne Nisbet staked a strong claim for selection in the British team for the European Cup Team Championships on June 22 and 23 when she won her event for hosts Edinburgh AC in the UK Women’s League match at Meadowbank with a leap of 1.85 metres.
Her effort was the best outdoors this season by a British athlete and her third Scotttish Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games qualifying standard.
Significantly, it was one centimetre higher than her main rival for the one GB place in the Gateshead event later this month, Aldershot’s Isobel Pooley, managed in another league match in Leeds on Saturday.
Pooley, however, does have an all-time personal best of 1.90m to her credit, which the selectors may take into account. The team is announced tomorrow.
Nisbet went on to attempt a new personal best of 1.88m and went sufficiently close to suggest that is well within her compass this season.
“I’m pleased with that as I’d done quite a hard week’s training,” said Nisbet. “If I get the Gateshead place it will be my first senior vest – the last time I wore a GB vest in competition was in 2007 at the European Junior Championships and that was for the triple jump. I want to try and get 1.92m, which is the B standard for the World Championships in Moscow, and Gateshead would be a real boost for that.”
Nisbet’s big confrontation with club rival Emma Nuttall scarcely materialised as Nuttall, employing only a shortened approach because of a slight injury, had a real off-day with her timing. She still did enough to gain the second place points with a clearance of 1.65m, but now must re-group for the European Under-23 Championship Trials and UK Championships at Bedford later this week.
In the absence of star attraction Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis, who had withdrawn earlier in the week due to a sore ankle, Edinburgh certainly did their best to entertain the sizeable crowd. They finished in style by winning the final event, the 4 x 400 metres relay to clinch overall victory by just 4.5 points, ironically over Ennis’ club Trafford AC, with Birchfield Harriers third.
Things might have been different had Trafford not been disqualified in the relay and also lost an athlete with a torn calf muscle in the 400m hurdles.
Apart from Nisbet, Susan McKelvie reached 61.47m in the hammer for her second Commonwealth Games qualifier in second place behind Shaunagh Brown (Blackheath and Bromley) (64.60m).
“I was so close for Delhi in 2010, so it was good to get the Glasgow 2014 standard again, even though I should be out at 64 or 65 metres,” said the Falkirk teacher.
“It’s been a tough time recently with my coach Alan Bertram’s death and I know I can do better.”
Encouragingly, Kimberley Reed, another of Bertram’s pupils who has been struggling recently to reach her former distances, threw a season’s best of 53.29m as a guest.
Unlike Ennis, who sent a message saying she was “gutted not to be taking part”, and fellow British Olympian Yamile Aldama, who was a late withdrawal on Saturday, the former World bobsleigh champion Gillian Cooke (Edinburgh) did turn out in the long jump to win the B event with 5.94m, second only to clubmate Sarah Warnock, who took the A event (6.11m).
Apparently both distances were wind-assisted, though the jumpers, as with some unfortunate spectators who had bought stand tickets, had the distinct disadvantage of being in shadow while the rest of the stadium basked in sunshine.
Cooke, although missing her immediate target of 6.10m to qualify for the UK Championships, was reasonably satisfied. “I’ll take that – the speed’s there,” she said. “The timing wasn’t, but I was getting into it by the end and I just need practice now.”
Cambridge medical student Emily Dudgeon (Edinburgh), a World Junior finalist last year, won the 800 metres in a strong finish in only her second outing of the season in 2:06.29 and also contributed a 55secs relay leg, taking EAC into the lead on the third leg.
“I just finished my exams on Tuesday and my main target for the season is to get the two Commonwealth qualifying times (2:02.80).”
• EILIDH CHILD (Pitreavie) won a flat 400m in Hengelo, the Netherlands, in 52.08 secs for a personal best outdoors and the first Scottish qualifying standard for that event.
Hammer-throwers Andy Frost, Mark Dry and Chris Bennett all added further Games standards to their collection in a British League match in Manchester, Frost his fifth (69.57m) to edge Dry (69.51, his 6th) with Bennett 67.65.
Steph Twell (Aldershot) gained a 5000m Games standard with 15:37.64 in Hengelo, which is also the best by a Scot this season.
Emily Stewart (EAC) ran a 10:18.47 steeplechase to beat clubmate Sarah Benson (nee Hood) (PB of 10:21.69 and Paisley’s Lennie Waite (10:20.77) in Leuven, Belgium.