Athletics: City stars fail to retain indoor crowns

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There was deep disappointment for Edinburgh AC’s Chris O’Hare and Emma Nuttall in North America on Saturday as they failed to retain their indoor athletics titles.

NCAA indoor one mile 
champion O’Hare (Tulsa) could finish only seventh in his final in Arkansas after qualifying comfortably enough in his heat the previous day.

His own harshest critic, O’Hare could only say it was “a bad day at the office” and 
perhaps “time for a rethink.”

The strong favourite after his recent NCAA 3:52.98 indoor mile, O’Hare was unable to respond when the race was decided in the closing laps. “I just didn’t feel right. It wasn’t my day, but this has given me the strongest motivation for the outdoor season,” he said.

High jumper Nuttall, winner of the Western Canada title recently with a leap of 1.85m, failed at a height of 1.82 metres and cleared only 1.79m for 
second place in the Canadian National student championships in Edmonton, an event she had won last year.

“I’m gutted to be walking away with the silver, especially as I was getting so high above the bar – it was a timing thing really,” explained the Trinity Western, Vancouver athlete.

Scottish hopes were also dashed in the UK Inter-Regional Cross Country Championships and World Trials in Birmingham on Saturday. Scottish 
Under-20 champion Ross Matheson (Lasswade) finished an encouraging 21st in his first tilt at the senior race, held in deep mud at Cofton Park.

His time of 35:57 was just over two minutes behind 
English winner Frank Tickner.

Anglo-Scot Steph Twell claimed a place in the British team, finishing fifth in the 8k senior women’s race in 27 mins 30 secs, just 32 seconds down on winner Louise Damen. Scottish women’s Under-20 champion Rhona Auckland (Edinburgh Uni) was eighth in 27:57.