Athletics: Band of brothers avoid each other in New Year Sprint heats

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Three brothers are all set to create a little bit of sporting history when they bid for the £4000 first prize in the 143rd annual New Year Professional Sprint at Musselburgh Racecourse on December 31 and January 1.

The trio – Steven, Ryan and Jordan Charters – from Delphinton are the sons of well-known Capital basketball player and former Scottish junior cap Gegore Charters, who still players regularly for Boroughmuir Masters in the Lothian League.

The brothers had the good luck to avoid each other when the draw for the heats was made at the racecourse yesterday.

The eldest, Steven, is a 25-year-old biology teacher who used to compete for Edinburgh AC before moving to Glasgow. Ryan is a 19-year-old second year PE student at Edinburgh University, who competes for Lasswade AC, and Jordan is a 16-year-old fifth year pupil at Peebles High who also competes for Lasswade.

Jordan Charters, who has a start of 11 metres, was one of the first names out of the drum in heat one where he will clash with 2006 winner Cumbie Bowers (Glenrothes) off 7.25m, and one of the leading female challengers Amy Clancy (Peebles), off 19.5m.

Ryan Charters, who was fifth in the final last time, has start of 11.50m in heat six, where he will meet the backmarker, Welsh champion Wyn Roberts (Swansea) off 3m, while Steven Charters, off 6.25m, is in heat two, where he has to give up starts of over 20 metres to the likes of Linda Nicholson (Peebles), off 28m, and James Beattie (Kelty), off 30m.

“I’m glad they’ve avoided each other in the Draw,” commented George Charters.

“But it’s a pity Ryan’s been injured,” he added.

All three brothers owe much to coach Charlie Affleck, who also guides last year’s runner-up Fiona Cleat (Edinburgh AC), who has again entered though she has hardly raced since then, apparently due to injury.

Her brother Duncan, who was seventh last time, has also kept a low profile over the last year.

These two siblings have also avoided each other, with Fiona off 22.5m in heat 11, where she clashes with would-be Turkish Olympian Iskan Barskanmay off 7.25m, while Duncan goes in heat eight off 9m.

A previous runner-up and twice Scottish Commonwealth Games representative Gemma Nicol (Dunfermline & West Fife), off 17.5m, has not been so lucky, having been drawn against her mother Wendy, off 30m, in heat nine.