Reigning World and European Indoor 60m champion Richard Kilty headlines an exciting line-up for the Scottish Senior Champs at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on Saturday.
The ‘Teesside Tornado’ is one of more than a dozen GB internationals across various disciplines set to compete with the well-known Scots involved including Laura Muir, Kirsten McAslan, Allan Smith, Jamie Bowie, Josephine Moultrie and Maddie Murray as well as teenagers like Jonny Glen, Ben Greenwood, Cameron Tindle, Carys McAulay, Emma Canning, Mhairi Hendry and Kelsey Stewart.
It should all ensure an exciting day’s athletics with a full programme across the Senior and U17 championships starting at 10am with the final event scheduled for 5.05pm.
Kilty is entered only for the 60m but should race three times and is looking to kick-start his indoor season – with the defence of his World Indoor title in Portland in America in March very much the target.
‘Richard has been out with some of the guys in Tenerife for warm weather training and is in good shape,’ said Stephen Maguire, the former scottishathletics Director of Coaching now responsible for sprints with UK Athletics.
‘He needs to get started and it was felt the Scottish Champs would be ideal for him before heading to Poland next week and some European meets.
‘Defending the World Indoor title he won in Sopot in 2014 is the goal and of course he won the Europeans at 60m last year, too. These titles are precious to him and he’s a real competitor. It should be great for Scottish sprinters to meet and compete with him on Saturday.’
Kilty’s PB is the 6.49 he set in Sopot and simply being in the same field should be inspiration for the likes of 17-year-old Berwick schoolboy Tindle, who ran a PB of 6.91 at the Scottish National Open and returns again this weekend, and fellow Scotland international Stephen Dunlop.
High jumpers Allan Smith, David Smith and Ray Bobrownicki are head-to-head after producing a terrific competition last year and there are other Glasgow 2014 Scots on start-lists like long jumper Sarah Warnock and throwers Angus McInroy and Kirsty Yates.
One of the events of the day could certainly be the Women’s 800m – with Laura Muir having already been within 17 hundredths of a second of her Scottish Indoor Record earlier this month.
The field looks particularly strong here with no fewer than 10 of the athletes listed with PBs below 2.08.00 and, while Muir is clearly the favourite, it could be exciting to see how some of Scotland’s best young athletes fare via the performances of McAulay, Hendry, Erin Wallace and Sarah Eunson. Muir’s best 2.00.94 was set at the Emirates two years ago and she ran 2.01.11 on January 16.
The ‘wild-card’ for the event is GB World Champs relay medallist McAslan. Kirsten hasn’t run the 800m for four years (her PB is listed as 2.08.39) but with no plan to compete over 400m at the World Indoors, the Manchester-based 22-year-old will head to Glasgow with high hopes for her four-lap ‘experiment’
‘Kirsten is very excited about this 800m run and so are we,’ said her coach, Trevor Painter, who is married to Jenny Meadows.
‘She has been in South Africa training recently but the Scottish Champs is a good opportunity now for her. We’ve had this 800m idea for quite some time but it just has not quite fitted her schedule. She has a 2.08.00 but that is historic and she has not run one for four years.
‘This year it does and I’d like to think she is in shape for something around 2.01 to 2.03 in terms of a time. Certainly, she is working away with training partners who can run 2.03.
‘We know there is a quality field there – with Laura obviously having started well indoors the other week. Hopefully it is a good race and that helps Kirsten.
‘The indoor season isn’t a huge focus, though, because the summer season is more important with the Olympics on the horizon for the 400m and the 4 x 400m Relay.’
McAslan’s training partner, Leah Barrow, had entered (with a 2.03 PB) but is now competing this weekend for England – thus opening the door to the final to another Scot.
The U17 Scottish Champs take place alongside the Senior Champs with around 450 athletes in all due to compete.
More details on: www.scottishathletics.org.uk Entry to the event on Saturday – £3 adults, U16s free.