Chris O’Hare today claimed that the bandwagon effect can spur a roll onwards to Rio after the Capital star was among eight Scots booking their Olympic places at the British athletics trials in Birmingham.
With the total in the track and field team now at 12, O’Hare will have plenty of old friends for company in Brazil following three days of action that saw a few familiar faces bow out of contention but many others show their readiness to fight for medals on the biggest stage of all.
The European bronze medallist came off second-best to Charlie Grice in the 1500m final but it was enough to book his ticket. And he claimed seeing one Scottish hope deliver was a massive spur to make sure he wasn’t left behind.
“It’s a lot and it’s great,” the West Linton hope said. “The Scots are a proud bunch and to have that many on the plane will be helpful for us all.
“I think if you look back to even before London, it was mainly just Eilidh Child [Doyle] and a few others – and Eilidh has really given us all the belief that Scots are just as good as anyone and we can compete.
“Hopefully this generation, at this Olympics, can show younger kids that and hopefully we will have even more in 2020. Scots will always have that terrier mentality, where we are the small dog that needs to fight twice as hard and bark twice as loud but that’s a good trait to have in this sport.”
Such is the strength in depth in middle distances that just behind O’Hare were Edinburgh AC club-mates Jake Wightman and Josh Kerr.
The former is set to go to next week’s European Championships in Amsterdam with an outside chance of earning an Olympic invite while US-based Kerr, 18, will now head to the world junior championships in Poland with some major scalps to is name.
“Josh has had an incredible year and I’m happy to see him coming on strong,” O’Hare said. “And he will be a contender over the next few years and Jake always has been and always will be because he is an incredible athlete. It is good that the club is getting good recognition.”
Lynsey Sharp is also heading to Rio – and her second Games – with the 2012 European champion taking silver behind Shelayna Oskan-Clarke in the 800m to confirm her selection after admitting to tightening up in the closing stretch.
“I didn’t put pressure on myself too much but I think that it did come from the other girls. I suppose that’s part of being one of the best in the country though,” she said. “I felt really relaxed and really strong the whole way round so that’s a positive. We’ve worked a lot in training on pace changes which I felt I did well, pretty much until the last 10 metres everything went to plan, so I just need to work on relaxing a little more.”
There were Olympic places sealed for Steph Twell and Eilish McColgan in the women’s 5000m and Andy Butchart in the men’s 5000, as well as Lennie Waite in the 3000m steeplechase. While Pitreavie’s Doyle cruised to a Rio berth with the easiest of victories in the 400m hurdles.
“A lot of folk said: ‘you’ve got no pressure on you’. But it’s tough being the favourite,” the European champion said. I just wanted to get the job done.”
Guy Learmonth’s hopes of sneaking a Euro call-up in the 800m were blown apart with the Pitreavie prospect sustaining a hamstring injury in the semi-finals.