What a superb weekend it was for Capital athletics and Edinburgh AC – and three of its athletes in particular.
Lynsey Sharp, Emily Dudgeon and Chris O’Hare all scored outstanding victories to boost their chances in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and Edinburgh Athletic Club shone in Portugal.
Heaving an almost visible sigh of relief, injury-plagued 2012 European champion Sharp secured the vital second 800 metres Games qualifying standard by recording 2:02.42, in what was virtually a solo run in a low-key meeting in Lokeren, Belgium on Saturday night.
EAC clubmate and 800m rival Dudgeon, not without problems herself last year, was in Portugal where she helped Edinburgh women finish fifth in the European Club Championships in another gun-to-tape victory in 2:03.22.
Both women can now expect to be named on June 8 in the Scotland team for Hampden in July.
There they should form two thirds of a talented 800m trio, the other being the already chosen Glasgow University vet student Laura Muir – if indeed Muir decides to opt for that event as well as the 1500m.
O’Hare, like Muir with the luxury of pre-selection for Hampden, sprinted clear of Welshman Chris Warburton to win the Westminster Road Mile on Saturday in 4:07.00, then had the honour of being presented with his British championship medal by Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to break the four minute barrier 60 years ago this month.
O’Hare’s Scottish club went on to surpass expectations in the two-day European Women’s event, which finished in Vila Real de San Antonio, Portugal last night.
Last year’s British reps Birchfield Harriers had finished only sixth, so their efforts delighted EAC manager Anne Scott: “It was a superb team performance,” she commented.
Dudgeon was their sole winner, but there were several other quality performances in the warm but windy conditions.
Another Games hopeful, Kirsty Yates, set a personal best in placing second in the shot with a throw of 16.09 metres, her third Commonwealth Games qualifier, and joint second on the Scottish All-time list, while Glasgow 2014 pick Jayne Nisbet was second in the high jump with a leap of 1.81m, just below her season’s best of 1.82m.
Another Scottish team member, Sarah Warnock, sailed to her best long jump ever of 6.35 metres to finish third – though aided by a generous following wind of 5.9 mps.
Games pick Susan McKelvie managed another Games standard distance of 61.70 metres, though that was only good enough for fourth in a high standard contest won with a 69m-plus throw.
Madeleine Murray, out for 14 weeks through injury, ran superbly to finish third in the 1500m in a personal best of 4:21.75.
Jake Wightman (EAC), however, was out of luck in Belgium in his bid for a second 1500 CGQ, clocking 3:43.89, compared to the target of 3:42.20.