Team Scotland is heading into the Commonwealth Games on the back of rubber-stamping 20 new Scottish records that have been broken in recent months.
No fewer than 11 different athletes contributed to those records and the new marks arrived in all manner of events from endurance to sprints, throws to jumps, hurdles and combined events.
Laura Muir, Chris O’Hare, Nikki Manson, Zoey Clark and Heather Paton have re-written the books in terms of national records at senior level and there have been a number of native records, too, as well as age group bests.
It means the Scots are in high spirits ahead of what should be a strong Gold Coast 2018. Head Coach Roger Harkins believes Eilidh Doyle and friends can relish an Australian experience akin to recent ‘home games’ events in Britain.
Team Scotland Head Coach Roger Harkins and Lee McConnell. Photo: Bobby Gavin/scottishathletics
Harkins, the scottishathletics Performance Director, was coach to Lee McConnell (above) when she won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne twelve years ago and expects the atmosphere at the Carrara Stadium to be similar to Glasgow 2014 and the London 2017 World Champs.
“Gold Coast 2018 is going to be a different experience and a different time of year for our athletes and coaches,” said Harkins, in an interview with PB magazine.
“We’ve spent some considerable time trying to help them, and their individual coaches, work out how best to get themselves in the right shape for early-April. And the approach varies according to the discipline or the individual’s circumstances, obviously. Hopefully all that work over the past few months will pay off.
“They will have to adapt to perceived differences from what’s normal for them at this time of year. There will be a lot of excitement in Australia for a Commonwealth Games and they have to either shut that out or feed off it, depending on their personalities.
“The Aussies take their sport extremely seriously so I really feel the overall experience will not be too unlike a home games in Britain for our athletes. By that, I mean the atmosphere generated around Gold Coast 2018 will be awesome.
“Australians are always highly-competitive with England when it comes to sport but I think they will have an affinity with Team Scotland. There is a bit more of a rapport there and that might be helpful.
“I think we can say we’ve seen some good signs early in 2018 of athletes coming into good form. For four or five, the World Indoors was there as a significant event in itself but also as a marker for where they are at. Others had different competitions or preparatory races/events to measure their current form.”
Scotland claimed four medals at Hampden via the efforts of Libby Clegg, Mark Dry, Eilidh Doyle and Lynsey Sharp. Seeking to top that is the clear aspiration now for the Team Scotland class of 2018 despite the absences of the likes of Laura Muir and Andy Butchart. To do that, athletes first need to reach finals.
“Clearly, the target is to get as many as possible from the whole selection into contention for the medals – say the 1-5 finish positions in finals,” added Rodger, who hopes to draw on his own Melbourne experience and coaching McConnell to represent GB and NI at the Olympics three times.
“The more we can get into that ballpark, the more chance we have of those being converted into podium places. Obviously we do have a medal target laid down – more than four – and we will be doing our utmost to meet that. But I am not going to put pressure on athletes by laying it on the line for them and saying that they have to deliver for Team Scotland, sportscotland or scottishathletics as their own governing body.
“They are there because they deserve to be after years and years of hard work in the sport to reach a certain level and thanks to good coaching guidance. I’m not asking them to ‘do it for us’ because I know that, deep down, they will want to do it for themselves. And for their coach. And their family. And the country. That is enough of a motivation in itself, so they don’t need anything extra from us.”
Eilidh Doyle at the 2018 Müller Indoor Grand Prix Glasgow. Photo: Bobby Gavin/scottishathletics
Records confirmed by scottishathletics on March 12:
Eilidh Doyle – Native Indoor – 52.38 seconds – 400m– Emirates Arena – 25 February 2018
Chris O’Hare – National Indoor – 3 minutes 37.03 seconds – 1500m – Boston, USA – 10 February 2018
Laura Muir – Native Indoor – 4 minutes 05.37 seconds – 1500m – Emirates Arena – 10 February 2018
Nikki Manson – Native Indoor – 1.90 metres – High jump – Emirates Arena – 10 February 2018
Nikki Manson – National Indoor – 1.90 metres – High jump – Emirates Arena – 10 February 2018
Mya McMahon – U13 Indoor – 4.90 metres – Long jump – Emirates Arena – 8 February 2018
Miraji Ahmed – U17 Indoor – 14.39 metres – Triple jump – Emirates Arena – 7 February 2018
Scott Brindley – U17 Indoor – 4,988 points – Heptathlon – Emirates Arena – 4 February 2018
Mya McMahon – Under-13 Indoor – 2,817 points – Pentathlon – Emirates Arena – 4 February 2018
Laura Muir – Native Indoor – 1 minute 59.69 seconds – 800m – Emirates Arena – 28 January 2018
Laura Muir – National Indoor – 1 minute 59.69 seconds – 800m – Emirates Arena – 28 January 2018
Heather Paton – Native Indoor – 8.34 seconds – 60m hurdles – Emirates Arena – 28 January 2018
Heather Paton – National Indoor – 8.34 seconds – 60m hurdles – Emirates Arena – 28 January 2018
Zoey Clark – Native Indoor – 23.58 seconds – 200m – Emirates Arena – 28 January 2018
Zoey Clark – National Indoor – 23.58 seconds – 200 metres – Emirates Arena – 28 January 2018
Mya McMahon – U13 Indoor – 4.83 metres – Long jump – Emirates Arena – 27 January 2018
Miraji Ahmed – U17 Indoor – 14.12 metres – Triple jump – Emirates Arena – 13 January 2018
Mya McMahon – U13 Indoor – 1.56 metres – High jump – Emirates Arena – 13 January 2018
Joel McFarlane – U20 Indoor – 5,099 points – Heptathlon – Sheffield – 7 January 2018
Meghan Porterfield – U13 Indoor – 11.91 metres – Shot put – Emirates Arena – 28 October 2017