Success for Edinburgh as students grab a title double

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Edinburgh University athletes Ray Bobrownicki and Rhona Auckland both struck gold on the second day of the British Universities Championships at Bedford yesterday.

Bobrownicki retained his high jump title with a leap of 2.16 metres to bring his tally of BUC titles to five. He has already bagged three indoor titles.

The American-born star, who wants to represent Scotland at next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, went on to attempt 2.19 metres but was thwarted by a problem which affected all the competitors: “The mats and uprights were crooked and these adverse conditions affected the entire field, yet the officials refused to sort it out,” he commented.

“But it’s an okay start.”

Rhona Auckland was the other Edinburgh winner, boldly setting the pace to take the 10,000 metres in a personal best of 34:07, some 46 seconds better than her previous best set last year.

This also left her well clear of fellow Scot Beth Potter (Loughborough) in third place.

The Scottish 4k cross country champion last year, the Banchory athlete appears to have moved on again after suffering an accident when she fell down stairs last Christmas.

Sarah Warnock (Queen Margaret) was the other Capital athlete to mount the podium yesterday after finishing a close third in the long jump with a leap of 6.03 metres, just four centimetres behind Jazmin Sawyers (Sheffield) for silver.

Former Mary Erskine’s schoolgirl Myra Perkins (Loughborough) was another Scot to strike gold, taking the hammer with a throw of 58.20 metres.

Judging by the string of top performances in yesterday’s qualifying events there should be plenty of further success for the Scots.

Guy Learmonth (Loughborough) swept impressively into the 1500 metres final, winning both his heat on Saturday and the semi-final yesterday, the latter in 3:52.00 after a final lap surge which took him past the man he rates as his chief threat in today’s final, British internationalist James Shane (East Anglia).

“He’s a 3:36.00 performer and has a wealth of experience of major championships,” said the 21-year-old Lasswade 800 metres star, who was delighted that his Loughborough team-mate and EAC runner Jake Wightman made the final.

Saturday’s women’s 400 metres heats saw the return of Scottish champion Kirsten McAslan, who had a rest of five months and a programme of rehab to cure stress-related leg injuries.

Coached by Trevor Painter, husband of British 800 metres star Jenny Meadows, McAslan won her heat in 55.72 secs and went on take her semi-final yesterday in 54.46, just .03 sec slower than another heat-winner, Emma Pullen (Cardiff), with Zoey Clark (Aberdeen) also in the frame with 55.24.

McAslan, whose mother Fiona (nee Hargreaves) ran for Scotland in the 1986 Commonwealth Games, has been drawn between her two rivals for today’s final.

World junior finalist Emily Dudgeon (EAC) won her 800 metres heat in Cambridge colours in 2:13.47 while her sometimes training partner Martyn Paterson (Stirling), the former New Year Sprint winner, was second in his 800 metres heat in 1:54.04, with Ben Stevenson (Edinburgh) fifth in 1:55.45.

Claire Taylor (Edinburgh) made a big breakthrough in the 100 metres hurdles, qualifying for today’s final in a personal best of 14.45 to go to the top of the Scottish rankings despite a painful injury warming up, and then setting another best of 25.28 in the 200 metres.

Firrhill High FP Tom Holligan (Aberdeen) set a season’s best of 10.80 in the 100 metres but failed to reach the final after clocking 10.87 in the semis but he looked better in winning his 200 metres heat in 21.94 with the final later today.

Napier’s Ollie Lawson also reached the 100 metres semis with a time of 11.10 while team-mate Donald Todd equalled his best long jump of 6.74m to reach today’s final.

Elsewhere. Glasgow’s Jax Thoirs, a student at Washington State University, has set his second Scottish pole vault record and Commonwealth Games qualifying standard in ten days when he cleared 5.40 metres at the Ken Shannon Invitational in Seattle on Saturday.

Thoirs had earlier cleared 5.37 metres to erase Gregor MacLean’s Scottish National record of 5.35m.