Once the home of the Scottish National Championships, a status it only lost when Edinburgh started to have serious intentions of staging its first Commonwealth Games back in the fifties, Hampden, the national football stadium in Glasgow, stages its first athletics event this weekend since a half-time two-mile race at a packed Scotland v England international in 1968 as the IAAF Diamond League comes to the city.
This meeting, starting tonight, perhaps not as well publicised as it might have been, could in terms of sheer quality actually overshadow the track and field events which follow in two weeks’ time at the Commonwealth Games.
For a start, the Americans will be there, including a man with some claim to being the world’s greatest athlete, Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton, who has surprised even himself by becoming a world class 400 metres hurdler while taking a year off from the ten events he normally excels in.
Eaton will face a tasty field in his new event including the current US No.1 Michael Tinsley and the twice Olympic champion, Felix Sanchez from the Dominican Republic.
But they do not come any bigger than two Commonwealth stars, David Rudisha of Kenya, the Olympic 800m champion and world record-holder Sally Pearson of Australia, the Olympic 100m hurdles champion who renews her rivalry with Britain’s Tiffany Porter and current world No.1 Queen Harrison (USA).
Olympic long jump hero Greg Rutherford is another of the 50 British athletes taking part that includes Scotland’s Games picks Lynsey Sharp (Edinburgh AC) and Laura Muir (Dundee Hawkhill) who will tomorrow meet in a mouth-watering 800m clash. Eilidh Child (Pitreavie) is in the 400m hurdles and Capital club-mates Chris O’Hare and Jake Wightman line up in the 1500m where the big name is Simon Kiplagat of Kenya.
“I’ll probably try to target Charlie Grice,” said O’Hare, who missed the British Championships when Grice claimed the title.
Others to get their chance include Jayne Nisbet in the women’s high jump where she is up against British champion Isobel Pooley. Scottish record-holder Jax Thoirs is in the pole vault and British high jump champion Allan Smith (South Queensferry) locks horns with Games team-mate David Smith.
Eilish McColgan (Dundee) goes again in the 3k steeplechase.
Child is the Scot with most Diamond form having been third three-times in these meetings and she will use the race to familiarise herself with the track and the stadium in advance of her bid to repeat her Games medal success of Delhi in 2010.
Her opponents tonight include three with faster times and three Commonwealth athletes.
Among the withdrawals from the meeting are British stars Mo Farah (5k), Christine Ohuruogu (400m) and Adam Gemili (200m).
• Seven female Cameroon athletes are to compete as guests in the Scottish Women’s League meeting at Meadowbank on Sunday. Scottish Games choice Kirsty Yates (EAC) will also compete in the shot.