Calum Henderson is ready to feel the heat and take a jump into the unknown in his pursuit of glory at the Commonwealth Youth Games later this month.
The 17-year-old Stewart’s Melville College pupil is used to training for the long jump and his favoured running events in cool conditions at Meadowbank. Temperatures are set to hit the 30s as the multi-sport games take place in the Bahamas, but Edinburgh Athletic Club member Henderson is excited and focused about the challenges ahead.
“After everyone congratulated me for making the team for the Youth Games their first follow-up question tended to be ‘will it be hot there?’,” he stated.
“The answer is of course yes but, as athletes, you have to be ready to go out there and perform in any sort of conditions and just stick to the techniques and take a lot of fluids on board.
“We have a great support team travelling with us and we know what to expect, so the heat won’t be an issue and it is just a real honour to be able to represent Scotland at such an event.”
The sixth Commonwealth Youth Games take place in Nassau from July 18-23 and 41 athletes have been selected to represent Team Scotland.
The athletes, aged between 15 and 18, will compete for Scotland in a number of sports including athletics, beach volleyball, boxing, cycling, judo, swimming and tennis.
Henderson recently finished S5 at school and has spent the last few weeks really tailoring his training for high quality meet.
As a youngster, he tried out a number of different sports, but soon fell in love with athletics and the journey since then has been an exciting one.
Training regularly with John and Anne Scott at Meadowbank, the long jump has become a real focus for him, but he also runs the 400 metres and looks likely to be involved in the 4x200 metres relay.
Two years ago at the International Children’s Games, he was a long jump and high jump finalist and it was in 2016 that his performance in the former event really started to come on.
He won gold medals at the UK School Games the SIAB Schools International and jumped past the milestone mark of seven metres for the first time.
Earlier this year, he kept up that form by putting in a great jump – just one centimetre shy of Darren Ritchie’s long-standing championship record – to lift the East District under-20 title.
He has also had some encouraging running results in the last year and a half and heading into this meet he said: “Training has been going really well and at Edinburgh Athletic Club there are some brilliant coaches around and some really experienced athletes who are training with you and are willing to give of their time to help you.
“As you start getting good results against athletes older than yourself it starts to give you confidence and it is always exciting building up to a big event.
“The long jump is quite a technical event with various phases in it so the preparation and practice can be quite precise. I am looking forward to chatting to the Team Scotland members from other sports to see how they prepare for their chosen event and perhaps we can share some tips.
“The biggest thing on your mind is always the next time you compete competitively and since school finished for the summer I have been thinking about the Bahamas.
“I cannot wait to pull on a Scotland vest once again, it’ll give me a real buzz.”