The build-up for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games starts in earnest this weekend with several of the already named Scotland team members opening their seasons in venues as far apart as the Gulf and Swansea.
Pitreavie star Eilidh Child, a medallist in the 400 metres hurdles in Delhi four years ago, is in action in a Diamond League meeting in Doha tonight in her first outing over the barriers since last summer, and she could scarcely have chosen a more exacting test.
Four of the field have run faster than her Scottish record best of 54.22 secs and were in the first five in last year’s World Championships, including the 2011 world champion Lashinda Demus (US), who has a best of 52.47, and one of the top tips for gold at Hampden in July, Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer, whose best is 52.79.
Two Ukrainian hurdlers are fractionally slower than Child, and the slowest in the field has clocked close to 55 seconds.
It will be fascinating to see what shape the 27-year-old Child is in as her canny coach Malcolm Arnold seldom allows her into such a cauldron without being confident.
Edinburgh Athletic Club are in Wales to open their defence of the UK Women’s Premier Division title which they won so dramatically last year.
They will be helped by long jumper Sarah Warnock and hammer-thrower Susan McKelvie, making their 2014 debuts, although Warnock did compete indoors earlier this year.
Again it will be fascinating to see how these two respond to the challenges of athletes coming through even if their Hampden places are secure given form and fitness.
McKelvie has seen Kimberley Reed (EAC), who is not available for Swansea because of exams, and Rachael Hunter achieve the qualifying standards in recent weeks, with Hunter twice surpassing the distance McKelvie reached to make the team.
Warnock will have clubmate and former world bobsleigh champion Gillian Cooke for opposition and a one-two in this event would certainly help to make up for one or two gaps elsewhere.
“We’re not at our strongest unfortunately due to both university and school exams but I hope we can at least finish in mid-table and keep in touch for the other two matches,” said team manager Anne Scott.