Glasgow 2014: Field stars aim to reach new heights

Jayne Nisbet
Jayne Nisbet
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Scotland has enjoyed relatively little success in Commonwealth Games field events in recent years and you have to go back to Edinburgh in 1986 to find Geoff Parsons, who still holds the national record at 2.31m, clearing 2.28m for the high jump silver medal.

That was the height cleared by Edinburgh University student Ray Bobrownick at Grangemouth this month which dramatically hoisted him to the top of the British rankings for the season and, had it been achieved sooner, might have earned him the third spot in the British team for the European Championships in Zurich next month.

More pertinently it is a height which has been good enough for a medal at a number of recent Games as indeed has 2.26m, the best that Capital high jumper and British champion Allan Smith has cleared.

With the third member of the chosen trio David Smith also jumping well, there must be grounds for hope that one of them can rise to the occasion.

Scotland, however, are fielding no fewer than six high jumpers in the Games with also three women including EAC club-mates Emma Nuttall, last year’s British champion, and Jayne Nisbet.

Nisbet, 26, is now based at Loughborough while Nuttall switched her history university course from Strathclyde to Trinity Western in Vancouver to be near the former Scottish national coach Laurier Primeau.

After a spell of injury, the 22-year-old former Craigmount High pupil announced herself ready when she cleared 1.81m off a short approach to finish second at the recent Harry Jerome meeting in Canada before returning home.

It will probably need 1.90m plus to win a medal with England’s Isobel Pooley over 1.91m recently and Levern Spencer from tiny St Kitts out in front with 1.96m.

But it is who delivers on the day that matters and the home crowd could be a huge factor.

The fact that there are also six Scottish hammer throwers owes much to the work of the late coaching guru Alan Bertram, whose “Hammerama” meetings have done so much to promote the event.

Two of his “disciples” Andy Frost and partner Susan McKelvie (EAC), are in the team with Frost, who has twice been fourth, the first time for England in Melbourne and the second for Scotland in Delhi, hoping his luck will turn this time.

Although Frost is ranked third of the Scottish men in the Commonwealth in eighth place, there is little to choose between him and fourth placed former Edinburgh resident Mark Dry, with Glasgow newcomer Chris Bennett fifth.

The Scottish record is still held by Capital Olympian and 1982 Games bronze medallist Chris Black, whose influence could inspire a women’s medal from Ayr nursing student Rachel Hunter, whose best of 66.30m puts her ranked seventh.

But McKelvie and former Capital schoolgirl Myra Perkins will certainly need new bests to reach the final.

Musselburgh’s Sarah Warnock (EAC) (best 6.42m) may need a new Scottish record of over 6.47m to reach the long jump final.