Three Edinburgh athletes win gold at England champs

Edinburgh's Emma Nuttall
Edinburgh's Emma Nuttall
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Capital athletes grabbed three titles as Scotland enjoyed a mini gold rush at the England Under-23 and Under-20 Championships at Bedford at the weekend.

Emma Nuttall (Edinburgh AC) started it off on Saturday by winning the women’s under-23 high jump with a huge new personal best of 1.86 metres, three centimetres better than her previous best set when winning the Scottish indoor title at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall last year.

Clearing 1.86m at the second attempt, Nuttall beat favourite Isobel Pooley (Aldershot) who managed the same height only at the third attempt, before both athletes unsuccessfully tried 1.90m: “I want 1.90m now – I’m looking forward to the UK Trials in Birmingham next weekend,” said Nuttall, a 20-year-old Tynecastle High FP who moved to Canada last winter to train with Scotland’s former national coach Laurier Primeau at Trinity Western University in Vancouver.

Nuttall is now joint fifth on the Scottish All-Time ranking list with clubmate Jayne Nisbet, whom she beat for the Scottish title in Glasgow earlier this month and who, along with Pooley, will be one of her rivals in Birmingham.

Two of Nuttall’s Edinburgh AC team-mates, Emily Dudgeon and Emily Stewart picked up the gauntlet and won track titles yesterday as Scots grabbed five golds.

Cambridge University medical student Dudgeon, who already had the qualifying standard, won the under-20 800m in 2:04.95, more than two seconds clear of her nearest rival, to clinch her place in the British team for next month’s World Junior Championships in Barcelona. Stewart, who has just completed her second-year maths at Edinburgh, finished fourth in the 1500m yesterday then, less than two hours later, set a championship record of 10:02.63 in the under-23 3000m steeplechase, slashing 13 seconds off her personal best and winning by 28 seconds.

Another Scottish champion with strong Capital connections, Cheshire-based Kirsten McAslan won the under-20 400m in 54.11, but she needs a time of 53.75 or better at this weekend’s UK senior trials to earn her Barcelona place.

Completing the haul, Nick Percy (Isle of Wight), smashed his own Scottish junior discus record by over three metres in winning the under-20 title with a heave of 59.53m which was also two metres over the Barcelona standard, while Falkirk’s Myra Perkins took the women’s under-23 hammer title with a throw of 56.06m.

Anglo-Scot James McLachlan (long jump), Dundee’s Laura Muir (3000m), Montrose’s Gregor MacLean, and Glasgow’s Jax Thoirs (both pole vault) all struck silver yesterday to add to those won by Alan Smith (Edinburgh) in the high jump (2.10m), Rachel Hunter (Ayr), hammer and Kirsty Yates (Glasgow), shot.

Allan Hamilton (EAC) and Jay Younger (EAC) both picked up under-20 bronzes, Hamilton just three centimetres behind McLachlan with 7.20m in the long jump and Younger battling through three 400m races to clock 48.08 in the final while Sarah Warnock (EAC) was third in the under-23 long jump with 5.99m.

Commonwealth Youth Games champion Tom Holligan (Edinburgh) strained a hamstring and finished fourth in the under-20 200m in 21.81. Holligan had clocked 21.57 into a breeze in his semi-final. Ross Matheson (Lasswade) was sixth in the under-23m 800 in 1:54.95 after winning his heat on Saturday in 1:52.54.