Steve Cram has saluted Scotland’s stars as he prepares to present ‘Athlete of the Year’ later this month.
The running legend and BBC commentator will be ‘Guest of Honour’ at the scottishathletics Annual Awards Dinner at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow on Satruday 31 October.
And he expects the short-lists in the Senior and Age Group categories to be packed with quality following a year which has seen around 40 Scots represent GB at World and European level in various disciplines.
Cram will be joined on stage by his partner, Allison Curbishley, who won a silver medal for Scotland in the 400m at the Commonwealth Games in 1998 , to help honour the Scottish ‘Athlete of the Year’ with BBC Scotland’s Bryan Burnett completing the line-up as host.
Eilidh Child and Lynsey Sharp have dominated the award in recent years with 400m hurdler and Beijing relay medallist Child having won it in 2013 and 2014.
Cram is an icon within the sport and in a 19-day period in 1985 he set World Records at 1500m, 2,000m and the mile. Steve won World Champs gold at 1500m in 1983 and a silver in the Olympics the following year.
The ‘Jarrow Arrow’ was European champion in 1986 and in the same year came to the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh and won an 800m and 1500m gold double at Meadowbank.
‘I am delighted to have been asked to be Guest of Honour at the scottishathletics Annual Awards,’ said Steve.
‘I think Scotland has a lot of talented and hard-working athletes at the moment. It should be a fantastic night at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow and I’m in no doubt we will be looking at very strong short-lists in many of the categories.
‘In track and field alone there were of course seven Scots in action in Beijing with Eilidh Child and Kirsten McAslan coming home with medals and three athletes – Eilidh, Steph Twell and Laura Muir – reaching finals.
‘If you want to look at National Records then it was been a good year there, too, with the likes of Laura, Lynsey Sharp, Mark Dry and Jax Thoirs all re-writing the history books. For Laura to run under four minutes for the 1500m and Lynsey to be at 1.57 for the 800m really is very encouraging ahead of the Olympics in Rio.
‘There’s strength in other areas as well and I remember Rhona Auckland coming up with a great gold in the Euro Cross at U23 and then running strongly at the World Cross in China as well. I know there has been success in the age groups at the European U20s, the World Youths and the Commonwealth Youth Games.
‘I’m sure scottishathletics members and supporters of the sport will want to acknowledge and remember those performances and the Annual Awards Dinner is a great place to do that.
‘I have a real connection with Scotland through Allison, of course, and my son Marcus was also at school in Edinburgh – so at that time I often found myself attending events and watching people like Chris O’Hare coming through. Callum Hawkins is another from that period who raced against Marcus and has stepped up well to Senior level.
‘I remember going to see my son compete at the (British) Inter-Counties and one of the Scotland teams won the Under-15 boys titles. That wouldn’t be happening all that regularly but those lads are starting to develop, like Chris.
‘That encourages others to come on and progress and you also hope the Commonwealth Games has made an impact in terms of bringing people into the sport.’
*Tickets for the Awards Dinner are available for £40 per person via www.scottishathletics.org.uk or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . Short-lists are being prepared for awards in the athlete categories as well as Clubs, Volunteers and Officials – and will be made public in due course.