The somewhat bizarre decision to stage the Scottish National Athletics Championships to coincide with the opening weekend of track and field at the Olympics appears to have been justified with a big increase in entries for Grangemouth today and tomorrow, a third more than last year’s meeting at Aberdeen.
That is despite the fact that a record 15 Scots are in the GB team in Rio.
At stake are places in the Scotland team for Wednesday’s international in Manchester against England, Wales, Northern Ireland and GB Juniors.
Some 20 athletes from the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games team have entered, including all three women hammer-throwers Susan McKelvie (Edinburgh AC), Rachel Hunter and Myra Perkins (Falkirk).
They face formidable opposition from Canadian gold medallist Sultana Frizell, who set a Commonwealth record at Hampden.
Middle-distance star Jake Wightman (EAC), who is so unlucky not to be in Rio, moves down to the one lap to challenge three of the 2014 Scottish men’s 4 x 400 metres record-breaking quartet, Jamie Bowie (East Lothian), Greg Louden (Lasswade) and Grant Plenderleith (Falkirk).
Alan Hamilton (EAC), who also missed selection for Rio, has been plundering the Highland Games circuit with five victories in Mull recently but has also displayed impressive sprinting speed and was narrowly beaten by club-mate Cameron Tindle in the scratch sprint at Langholm last week as well as winning the handicap event.
With Tindle deciding to end his season early, Hamilton could well have been favourite to capture the 100 metres crown tonight, but has decided to concentrate on the long jump.
Another of coach John Scott’s squad, former World bobsleigh champion Gillian Cooke (EAC), looks likely to succeed club-mate Sarah Warnock, who is not defending her long jump title.
Emily Dudgeon (EAC), an 800 rep in Glasgow, has entered the 1500 at Grangemouth.