Athletics: McAslan takes under-23 gold

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ON A weekend when Capital athletes seemed stuck on silver, Scottish 400 metres champion Kirsten McAslan, whose family hail from Edinburgh, made a big claim for inclusion in the Great Britain 4 x 400m team for the European Team Championships at Gateshead next weekend by striking gold in the AAA Under-23 Championships at Bedford.

McAslan beat fellow relay squad member Victoria Ohuruogu (Newham & Essex) to capture the women’s Under-23 400m title in 53.31 secs, 0.35 sec clear of her English rival, the younger sister of 2008 Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu, who is also in the squad and, along with Scotland’s Eilidh Child and Perri Shakes-Drayton, look certain to be in the quartet. Bath student McAslan is seeking to emulate her Edinburgh mother Fiona Hargreaves, whose last international race was a winning one for GB in a 4x400m relay at Gateshead in 1986.

But the Sale Harrier, who two years ago famously anchored the GB team to a 4 x 400m gold in the European Championships, was still outside the target of 53.00 secs she needs to qualify for next month’s European Championships in Tampere, Finland, while the qualifying standard for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is a tough 52.40 secs.

A second gold came from Glasgow University vet student Laura Muir (Dundee), who beat Cambridge medical student Emily Dudgeon (Edinburgh AC) in the under-23 800m final in 2:03.22, just 0.22 secs outside the target for Tampere.

But Muir already has the 1500m Euro standard and looks certain to be chosen.

As she forecast, Dudgeon has run out of time to qualify after finishing second in 2:05.13.

Isle of Wight Anglo Nick Percy won the discus with a throw of 58.66m to complete Scotland’s gold tally.

Jake Wightman (EAC) was second in the U-23 1500m in 3:55.01 and Pitreavie’s Ewan Dyer set a personal best of 52.58 for runner-up in the U-20 400m hurdles.

Guy Learmonth (Lasswade) lost by a mere 0.01 secs in 1:50.42 to Oliver Aitchison (Aldershot) in the U-23 800m final and could well lose out again on selection.

Another Loughborough-based runner, Glasgow’s Beth Potter, was second in the 5000m in 16:18.72 with Rhona Auckland (Edinburgh University) fourth (16:34.72).

South Queensferry high jumper Allan Smith also won silver, losing narrowly on countback to Sale Harrier Chris Baker, both clearing 2.10 metres. This was well below the Euro qualifying height of 2.22m, but, in windy conditions, the selectors may be kind.

Another Capital high jumper Emma Nuttall (EAC) also took silver in the women’s under-23 event, clearing 1.79 metres before going out at 1.83m.

Aldershot’s Isobel Pooley cleared 1.87m, a Euro qualifier and best by a British athlete this season, to win and justify her selection over Nuttall’s EAC clubmate Jayne Nisbet for the Gateshead place.

Another EAC clubmate Emma Lowry took bronze (1.70m), while Kimberley Reed (EAC) was third in the under-20 hammer with 52.66m.

Another silver went to Jade Nimmo (Falkirk) in the long jump where she reached 6.25m, with Sarah Warnock (EAC) grabbing bronze (6.02m).