Holligan enjoys another flag day as he breezes to gold

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Tom HOLLIGAN (Edinburgh AC) proved he is the man for the big occasion by adding the Commonwealth Youth Games 200 metres gold medal to the European Youth Olympic title he won over the same distance in Turkey last July.

Despite being in the outside lane of the final in a very windy Douglas, Isle of Man, Holligan, the 17-year-old Firrhill High School pupil who was Scotland’s flag-bearer in the Opening Ceremony last Thursday, comfortably defeated the impressive 100m winner Tahir Walsh (Antigua), (21.66 seconds) with Dalton Coppins of New Zealand third (21.75).

Holligan was timed at 21.52 with a following wind of +3.6mph ruling out any record.

Holligan’s coach Keith Ridley, speaking last night from Derby where Team Edinburgh were finishing fifth in the National Junior League final, was delighted: “It’s been a long, hard season for Tom what with chasing qualifying times then having to prepare for two major events, but he’s shown he has the mindset for the big occasion.”

Holligan’s gold took Scotland’s tally of athletics medals on the final day to four and to five in all and it might have been more had not his club-mate Beth Finlayson succumbed to a hamstring injury and been forced to withdraw from both the 200m, where Glasgow’s Chloe Lambert won a bronze in 24.49sec, and 4 x 100m relay.

Isle of Wight thrower Nick Percy, who had smashed his own Scottish Under-17 record by four metres in taking the discus silver medal with a heave of 62.96m on Saturday, added a bronze in the hammer yesterday with another new best of 64.96m.

Another EAC star Kimberley Reed secured a silver in the women’s hammer, throwing 54.22m with her first effort but then had three no throws as she strove to catch a formidable foe, the World Youth Championship winner, England’s Louisa James, who threw a personal best of 58.10m in the second round.

“That’s a fine achievement by Kimberley and don’t forget that Louisa is a year and a half older than her,” said her coach Alan Bertram.

In Derby , another gusty venue yesterday, Team Edinburgh captain Allan Hamilton came back from injury to win the long jump with a leap of 7.03m and managed fifth in the triple jump with a modest 13.98m.

Seumas Thomson won a tough 400 hurdles in 57.27sec and Greg Louden finished second in the flat 400m in 48.19, a remarkable time in the conditions. Final scores were: 1 Birchfield 500, 2 Shaftesbury Barnet 476, Blackheath 461, 5 Edinburgh 348, 6 Gateshead 333, 7 Sale 331, 8 West Wales 309.