Alisha Rees: I had to leave Edinburgh for sake of my career

200m sprinter Alisha Rees lines up in the IAAF World Junior Championships in Tampere
200m sprinter Alisha Rees lines up in the IAAF World Junior Championships in Tampere
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Edinburgh AC prospect Alisha Rees has claimed her sprinting career would have been left in the blocks if she’d not made the tough decision to move south rather than staying in the Capital.

The 19-year-old, who recently broke the Scottish Under-20 record, lines up in the 200 metres at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Tampere, Finland, today.

It comes at the end of her first year based at Loughborough University, with Rees opting to decamp to UK Athletics hub – and pay £8000 annual tuition fees – over taking up a place at Edinburgh University.

A big factor in the move was the decision to shut Meadowbank Stadium and leave its athletes high and dry.

“The good thing with Loughborough is that it’s a 30-second walk to the track and a 30-second walk to lectures,” she said. “It’s not hard to balance my lifestyle. If I’d gone to Edinburgh, I’d have had to travel 45 minutes to Pitreavie and that would have made it very hard to be an athlete and a student at the same time. Loughborough is geared to sport and that’s helped me.”

It is also been a fillip to train alongside Edinburgh club-mate Beth Dobbin, who is preparing to race at this weekend’s Athletics World Cup in London after breaking the Scottish 200m record four times inside a month.

“People say we haven’t got sprinters in Scotland but it’s not true. Beth has come through and she’s Scottish and a British champion. Hopefully I can come through in a few years and we can say two of the best sprinters in the UK are Scottish.

“It’s about time that sprinting has a voice because we’ve been put behind the middle-distance runners. They’re doing amazing but now it’s our turn to show what we can do.”

Meanwhile, Lynsey Sharp will bid to improve on her eighth place in Lausanne last week when she races the 800m at tonight’s Diamond League leg in Rabat. However, Chris O’Hare has pulled out of running in the 1500m.