Gillian Cooke and Kimberley Reed in final Games bid

Gillian Cooke hopes to compete at Hampden as she targets a third Commonwealth Games
Gillian Cooke hopes to compete at Hampden as she targets a third Commonwealth Games
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Edinburgh Athletic Club team-mates Gillian Cooke and Kimberley Reed have at least one thing in common as they face their date with destiny in the UK Women’s League meeting at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium tomorrow.

Both have competed for Scotland in a Commonwealth Youth Games. But while Reed would win her first senior honour were she to clinch selection for Glasgow 2014 in one of the two vacant places in the women’s hammer, Cooke is bidding to compete in her third senior Commonwealth in the one vacant long jump place.

Remarkably the versatile Watsonian, who only five months ago was still in full-time training for bobsleigh, the sport in which she won a world title with Nicola Minichiello in 2009, was a long jumper at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, a pole vaulter in the Manchester Games in 2002 and a triple jumper for Scotland in the Youth Games at Meadowbank in 2000.

Tomorrow her focus will be back on the long jump where tantalisingly she has achieved one of the two mandatory CGQ standards of 6.20m or better, having reached 6.22m at Bedford last Saturday.

“I always thought it might come down to this,” said Cooke, who for the first time for several years of winter sport crashes and other setbacks believes she is injury free.

“It’s there – I just need to do it this weekend,” said the 31-year-old Scottish indoor record-holder at 6.43 metres, who may have one more chance in Scotland this Sunday just hours before the selection committee sit down to finalise their nominations to Commonwealth Games Scotland for endorsement and an announcement on Thursday next week.

“I reckon in the last two weeks I’ve done the distance four times but just not from the right line,” added Cooke, who like so many others is thoroughly motivated by the prospect of competing at Hampden.

“It’s all sorts of things, a home Games, the fact I haven’t competed for Scotland for a long time – I’ve spent several years competing for GB in bobsleigh. I can almost taste it now – it’s a case of finishing off the job.”

Also still in the frame is her fellow EAC member Lisa Ferguson, who has one qualifier (6.20m) to her credit.

But it will be another clubmate Glasgow pick Sarah Warnock who will be her partner tomorrow.

Although technically there are still two places left in the wonderfully competitive women’s hammer, the already chosen Susan McKelvie (EAC) looks set to be joined by Rachel Hunter (Ayr) whose massive throw of 66.30m in the Loughborough International was not only her own best by three metres but surpassed McKelvie’s best ever by over a metre.

Reed, with three throws over the 61.00m standard in different competitions, looked ready to claim the third place when up popped Myra Perkins, the former Capital schoolgirl, with a heave of 63.11m in the Loughborough International and in notching her second CGQ at Bedford she beat Reed in the head-to-head.

Reed, however still only 19, is well capable of producing a 63m plus throw at Birmingham where she and McKelvie should stack up the points for the Capital club.

But should she fall short, the Drummond High former pupil has an attractive alternative, the World Youth Games in Eugene, Oregon which take place from July 22 to 27 and for which she already has the qualifying distance: “I suppose that’s what I should be doing but who would deny themselves the chance of competing in a home Commonwealth Games.”

There could be some poker going on amongst the three candidates for two men’s 1500 places.

David Bishop (Bristol), Jake Wightman (EAC) and Mark Mitchell (Forres) all have their two CGQ times but Mitchell, marginally the slowest of them, could gamble on another race to improve his claims.

What a shame there are no Scottish Trials or even the National Championships to showcase the struggles.

Have Scottish Athletics missed a trick?