On a difficult, emotional day, Capital hammer-throwers Susan McKelvie and Andy Frost led a procession of Scots to achieve Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games qualifying standards in the annual Loughborough International in the East Midlands yesterday.
Both athletes had been coached for several years by the much-respected Alan Bertram, the Borders-based sporting guru who was devoted to their throwing discipline and whose sad death occurred on Saturday. But in spite of this, or maybe because, they produced season’s best performances.
McKelvie went over the required 61 metres target for the women’s hammer for the first time since the standards came in last month with a throw of 62.13m in the third round which placed her fourth in the competition, while Frost, who has already been over the men’s Games target of 67.00m twice, with a best of 69.32m, pushed that up to 70.03m, his first time over 70 metres this year.
Mark Dry, who had been coached previously by Bertram, also went over the Games standard with 71.69m for third place, though he has a much better throw of over 74m to his credit.
Though she has run much faster, team captain Eilidh Child not only led from the front to win the 400m hurdles but clocked her first Games standard since the qualifying period began of 56.34 seconds and then helped Scotland’s women’s 4x400m relay team to victory in another qualifying time of 3:32.57, the others in the quartet being Gemma Nicol, Diane Ramsey and Kirsten McAslan.
McAslan had earlier finished second in 53.28 secs to Child’s great English rival Perri Shakes-Drayton, who won the flat 400m impressively in 50.98.
The inspired Scots continued to shine with Durham doctor Nony Mordi, setting a Games triple jump mark of 13.44m, well over the Glasgow target of 13.25m.
The former Edinburgh University star had tried in vain to reach the Delhi 2010 standard but now looks to have a great chance of making Glasgow next year.
“I’m absolutely delighted with that – it’s my first outdoor competition for three years,” said the former Fife jumper.
“I was injured for two years then started work and didn’t have the right life balance for training; that’s better now and I’m enjoying my athletics again.
“I was aware of 13.25m for Glasgow, so it was great to get that under my belt so early in the season and with a bit beyond.”
Jayne Nisbet was another Capital star in comeback mode.
The 24-year-old Edinburgh AC member easily bettered the Games target of 1.80m in the high jump with a height of 1.84m, her best for two years, and went on to try 1.87m.
“I had some really good attempts – a very positive start to the season,” said Nisbet.
Allan Smith (South Queensferry) was second to England’s Tom Parsons (2.28m) in the men’s high jump with 2.22 metres, his best ever jump outdoors and another Games mark.
“It was a decent way to open outdoors after a low-key competition in Florida and I’m happy enough with that on my first senior appearance for Scotland. I’ve posted the GB European under-23 standard four times so hopefully that’s another – that’s the big target this summer.”
Grangemouth long jumper Jade Nimmo was yet again over the Games long jump target of 6.20m with a leap of 6.33m to win the Loughborough event, while Edinburgh’s Paralympian silver medallist Libby Clegg set a T12 Glasgow standard of 12.58 in a guest 100m race.
Capital 400m runner Jamie Bowie set a season’s best of 47.20 in the 400m, but Allan Scott was disqualified in the high hurdles.
Dundee’s Eilish McColgan won the 1500m in a startling 4:09.67, the fastest time by a Briton this year and another Glasgow 2014 qualifier while Morag McLarty (Central) in second place in 4:12.91 was on track for the 4:10.0 target for much of the race.
Two other Games qualifiers were set by Scots earlier in the weekend.
David Bishop set a men’s 1500m time of 3:38.72 in Los Angeles where Chris O’Hare (EAC), who has already run 3:38.48, was forced to drop out with a hamstring strain, while Steph Twell set a Games time of 15:42.13 for 5000m at a British Milers Club meeting in Solihull on Saturday night.