Gold rush for Capital athletes

Rhona Auckland won the 5,000m in a Championship best time
Rhona Auckland won the 5,000m in a Championship best time
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Capital athletes performed brilliantly in a Scottish gold rush at the English Under-23 and Under-20 Championships at Bedford at the weekend.

Despite unhelpful wet and windy conditions the Scottish raiding party came away with at least eight titles and a stack of other medals.

Pride of place must go to 17-year-old Josh Kerr (Edinburgh AC), who coolly captured the U-20 1500 metres title in 3:49.90, to add to his impressive collection.

Having won his heat in 3:52.84 on Saturday, Kerr was content to sit in the pack in yesterday’s final before kicking strongly with 200m to go to beat his nearest rival, US-based Liam Dee (3:51.2), with Jan Tobin (3:51.3) a close third.

Kerr’s time was faster than fellow Scot Neil Gourley (Giffnock), 3:50.60, clocked in taking the U-23 title and he should now be picked for the European U-20 Championships in Tallinn, Estonia next month.

“He ran a great race,” said coach Mark Pollard.

Katie Purves (EAC) was the first of the golden girls yesterday, winning the U-20 400m hurdles in a new personal best of exactly 60.00 seconds and Fifer Jack Lawrie, running in the colours of a London club, took the U-20 men’s hurdles in a fast 51.84.

Edinburgh University’s Rhona Auckland confirmed that she will be a worthy member of the GB team for the European U-23 Championships in Sweden next month when she won the 5000m in a championship best of 15:59.20 and she should be joined by Kirsten McAslan who won the 400m in 53.54, chased home by fellow Scot Zoey Clark (53.73).

Rachel Hunter won the U-23 hammer and Kirsty Yates (EAC) was second in the U-23 shot (15.06m).

Maddie Murray (EAC) was delighted with her bronze in the U-23 1500m in a personal best of 4:19.57, but Emily Dudgeon (EAC) may have been 
disappointed with only a bronze in the 800m (2:05.53).

Cameron Tindle (EAC), only newly turned 17, improved with every round in the U-20 100m on Saturday to finish seventh in 10.63. But, having already achieved the qualifying time with his 20.94 last month, Tindle almost certainly clinched his World Youth Games place in Columbia next month by snatching third in the 200m final yesterday in 21.27.

Another clubmate, Sandy Wilson, was fourth in his 200m heat in 21.95, having posted a PB of 48.92 in Saturday’s 400m heats.

Lewis McGuire (Pitreavie) took silver in the high jump with a leap of 2.04m while Mhairi Hendry was second in the U-20 800m, her Glasgow clubmate Hazel Ross third in the U-23 100m hurdles in 13.80 and Banchory’s Alish Rees third in the U-20 200m (24.01).

n A terrific run by Eilidh Child was the highlight of the Scottish performances in the European Team Championships in Cheboksary, Russia where GB finished fifth.

Child won the 400m hurdles in a season’s best of 54.46 which was also the fastest by a European athlete this year.

“I knew it was pretty windy and I wasn’t too bothered about the time so to win and knock a chunk of my season’s best, well I’m delighted,” said the 28-year-old European champion, who also ran the first leg of the 4x400m relay.

“Hopefully this will set me up for the next few weeks now.”

Lasswade’s Guy Learmonth was not so happy, fading to ninth in the 800m in 1:47.84 after being well place at the bell in arace won by the Italian Giordino Benedetti in a fast 1:45.11.

“It’s not too good - I felt fine for 400 but just not as good fo the last 200 as I usually do.”