Shot at glory as teenager scoops gold at the Games

Robbie  Nairn in training
Robbie Nairn in training
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A TEENAGER from the Capital has scooped a gold medal in front of 30,000 spectators at the new Olympic Stadium in London.

Robbie Nairn, 15, a pupil at Currie Community High School, won the boys’ shot putt final at the Sainsbury’s UK School Games on Wednesday – the last event to be held there before the Olympic opening ceremony.

He only started in the sport 18 months ago, when his mum signed him up for a competition to pass the time while he waited to take part in a sprint event. And he said that ahead of the Games in London he had hoped to take third place at best, and was astounded to do so well.

“It was one of the best things I’ve ever done – it was an amazing experience,” he said.

“I was aiming for third at most, and hoping to throw over 15 metres, but my winning throw was 16m, 15cm, and the guy who came second threw 16m, 12cm, so I only just beat him.”

Robbie said he’d initially missed his winning result when it was first shown on screens at the Stadium in Stratford, because he was deep in conversation with his coach, Alison Grey, of Livingston Athletics Club.

“I didn’t see it, because my coach was by the side and whenever I throw she gives me feedback, so I only found out at the end. I thought I’d come second, and, when I found out, I was over the moon.”

He said the experience of competing in the Olympic Stadium in front of supporters from all over the country had been incredible.

“It was surreal. The amount of people that turned out to support everyone, and the sheer size of it, was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. It was fantastic.”

Robbie first tried the shot putt 18 months ago at an event where he was competing as a sprinter, and he said his progress had leapt forward after he started working with Ms Grey at Livingston Athletic Club.

He said: “I only had one sprint going on and my Mum just put me in for shot putt and said: ‘Why don’t you have a go at this?’

“I was OK at it, but I wasn’t brilliant – but then I got a proper coach for it, and she has got me on so far, I’ve improved about four metres in a year. I wouldn’t be anywhere if it wasn’t for her.”

Now his sights are set on the future – and the possibility of competing in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. “My coach said she thinks in a few years’ time, if I get the training in, I’ve got a chance. It has been a dream ever since I started competing.”

A spokesman for scottishathletics said: “Robbie was one of four young Scottish athletes to pick up gold in the Olympic Stadium at the UK School Games and we were delighted for them all.

“It was a memorable occasion for the full team and the staff, families and coaches involved – both in the stadium and back home.

“Robbie is a thrower with fine potential. He is lying third in the current British Under-17 rankings and he only turned 15 in February, so he’s a good bit younger than some of his current rivals.