The Gods were certainly smiling on Scottish athletes at the Loughborough International in England yesterday.
In near-perfect warm and still conditions, Scotland’s athletes, who finished fourth in a largely meaningless match, produced 15 Commonwealth Games qualifying performances, 12 personal bests and five winners.
Pick of the lot was probably the women’s hammer where, poignantly on the first anniversary of the death of coaching guru Alan Bertram, four Scottish throwers competing for different teams had a battle royal and achieved Glasgow 2014 standards including, for the first time, Mary Erskine FP Myra Perkins (Falkirk) who threw a lifetime best of 63.11 metres. Scottish champion and Games pick Susan McKelvie (Edinburgh AC) produced her best for two seasons with a heave of 63.82m, but even those were eclipsed by the monster second round throw of 66.30m by Ayr student nurse Rachel Hunter which hoists her to second on the Scottish all-time list behind long-retired Shirley Webb and makes her clear favourite to join McKelvie in the team when it is finalised on June 8.
Kimberley Reed (EAC) also achieved another qualifying time – her third, with a throw of 61.76m, just one centimetre below her best, and she still has the edge on Perkins who needs to reach the target again, although she will surely do that now.
A relay leg of 53.9 seconds by Lynsey Sharp (EAC) was perhaps as significant as any of the individual wins for it followed up a low-key 800m win in 2:03.90 by the 2012 European champion at a BMC meeting at Watford the night before and suggests the Capital star, who also has still to bag that crucial second qualifying time, is almost back to full fitness.
Clubmate Emily Dudgeon did just that at Loughborough taking the 800m for Scotland in 2:02.67, replicating her previous qualifying time in the US a few weeks ago and just inside the 2:02.80 target.
The Gods can be cruel too, however, for another Scot Jake Wightman, running in the host purple colours, won the men’s 800m in 1:48.08 in a quick follow-up to his 1:47.93 in the Watford BMC meeting on Saturday night but was again tantalisingly outside the Glasgow 2014 mark of 1:47.50.
BUCS champion Wightman will switch to the 1500m this week and make two attempts on that qualifying time of 3:42.20 which Capital resident Mark Mitchell (Forres) dipped under in Watford with 3:41.96.
With New Mexico student Dave Bishop clinching his second 1500m time of 3:39.27 in the US last week, places are already running out for Haddington’s US-based Kris Gauson to make the team and Wightman could throw another spanner in the works.
Scotland captain and Delhi 2010 veteran James Campbell, who has endured months of injury misery and shoulder operations, just went over the Glasgow target of 70m for the first time with his winning javelin throw of 70.01m.
His girlfriend Jayne Nisbet (EAC) cleared another Games mark of 1.82m in the high jump to finish third but was clearly disappointed to fail 1.85m in an event in which 17-year-old England star Morgan Lake cleared 1.93m for a British youth record. Another Capital high jumper Allan Smith was third man with 2.20m.
Sadly not deemed good enough for Glasgow, though clearly a great prospect, Kathryn Christie (EAC) set two personal sprint bests, in the 100m (11.74 secs) and 200m (23.71 secs), the latter putting her 12th on the Scottish all-time list.