Athletics: Time running short for 2014 hopefuls

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DEVELOPING Scottish athletes hoping to come through next year and claim their places in the team for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games are in for a shock.

There will be few opportunities in 2014 to post the necessary performances in the domestic outdoor season as the Scottish team is to be picked at the end of May next year.

Traditionally the Scottish Senior Championships have provided the last chance before the selectors sit down to finalise the team and in both these previous years they were held at the end of June.

But although next year’s fixture list has not yet been announced it would be unlikely to be as early as the end of May.

This year the championships are being held at Glasgow’s Scotstoun Stadium on August 10 and 11, clashing with the World Championships in Moscow, though how many Scots will actually make the GB team remains to be seen.

“Most athletes seem to prefer the meeting to be held later in the season as, if it is held in June, it leaves them with little else to aim for,” explained an official.

I have a suggestion – why not count indoor performances? Now that we have the splendid Emirates Arena in Glasgow it would be a tremendous boost for next year’s Scottish Indoor Championships there and might make up a little for the disappointment over the outdoor event?

Bajo will be guest runner

Capital sprint hope Morro Bajo will have to “guest” at the Edinburgh Secondary Schools Championships at Meadowbank on Wednesday as his entry was overlooked.

Happily however the 16-year-old Liberton High pupil is in the official entry for the Scottish Schools Championships at Grangemouth a week today and tomorrow, a meeting which clashes with the UK Women’s League.

Nicol bound for Belgium in search of key times

Dunfermline 400 metres runner Gemma Nicol, who is bidding for her third Commonwealth Games, and her Edinburgh-based training mate Jamie Bowie are off to Oordegen in Belgium this weekend chasing times over one lap, one of the events in which Scotland so far has no qualifiers.

“It’s my first 400 metres of the season,” said Nicol, whose best of 53.20 seconds was set last July.

A regular finalist in the New Year Sprint in which she has been as close as runner-up, Nicol has already set best-ever times this season with a windy 11.96sec for the 100m and 24.12 for 200m so is clearly ready to go under 53 seconds.

Bowie, who like Nicol is advised by Polish coach Piotr Haczek, ran his best-ever 400m of 46.78 back in 2011 and has clocked 47.20 so far this season.

Lasswade two-lap merchant Guy Learmonth meanwhile will pin his hopes on the British Milers Club meeting at the Sports City track in Manchester tomorrow night.

Learmonth needs to beat 1:47.50 to post his first Glasgow 2014 time.

Ticket rush to see Ennis

ONE thousand tickets have been sold for the UK Women’s league match at Meadowbank a week tomorrow in anticipation of a season’s first appearance of Olympic 2012 heptathlon champion Jess Ennis. Ennis will help her club Trafford AC in the 100m hurdles, long jump and javelin and hosts Edinburgh AC should at least be compensated for any loss of points by a nice boost to club funds from the gate money.