Scottish athletes are celebrating their most significant moment in terms of Team GB representation for 30 years.
No fewer than seven Scots have been named by British Athletics for the World Championships in Moscow next month.
It matches the record number of seven selected way back in 1983 when the event was first held in Helsinki and the sport in this country enjoyed the so-called golden era of Allan Wells, Yvonne Murray and Liz McColgan.
Now there is a new generation emerging with the seven picked this time a significant slice of Team GB’s 60-strong squad for Russia and more than double the three athletes picked for World Champs in 2011 and 2009. Heading to Russia are: Eilidh Child, Eilish McColgan, Laura Muir, Susan Partridge, Kirsten McAslan, Chris O’Hare and Jamie Bowie.
With next week marking a year to go to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the inclusions came hard on the heels of a 14-medal haul at the British Championships in Birmingham last weekend which was the best overall Scottish performance in that event for 25 years.
“There have been a lot of encouraging signs over the last few months and this is another huge boost for everyone connected with athletics in Scotland,” said scottishathletics Director of Coaching, Stephen Maguire.
“We’ve been talking about a lot of potential and now we are seeing that being translated into performances and this kind of representation in a senior GB team for a World Championships. We had two medals at the Euro Under-23s in Finland last weekend, too.
“I am hugely energised and invigorated by this and would stress again the work by the personal coaches of those involved with these seven athletes – many congratulations to all of those.
“I think this can be inspirational for young Scottish athletes around the country. A lot of them have competed against these athletes and there’s a knock-on effect as people try to improve their own performances and raise standards.”
Olympian Eilidh Child will attend the World Champs for the third time in her career and was named for 400m hurdles and the 4 x 400m relay.
British champion Eilish McColgan will compete in the 3000m steeplechase while Susan Partridge, the best British woman finisher in the London Marathon, was already assured of her place for Moscow. Partridge was 24th in the marathon in Daegu two years ago.
But the real bonus came with four young athletes named for their first experience of major championships at senior level in O’Hare (1500m), Muir (800m), Bowie (4 x 400m relay) and McAslan (4 x 400m relay).
Veterinary medicine student Muir for her part completes an amazing hat-trick in terms of track championships after competing at 3000m at the World Juniors last summer and the Euro Under-23s at 1500m last weekend, where she won a bronze medal.
Now the Dundee Hawkhill athlete will be in the 800m alongside top English prospect Jessica Judd – as she demonstrates a range which even includes a Euro Cross Country appearance for GB at the end of 2011. The 20-year-old is regarded as a tremendous prospect and is now firmly on the British radar.
O’Hare wins his reward for a recent 3.35 British rankings leading run at 1500m as well as his title win at the Alexander Stadium on Saturday. The Tulsa University student was quickly on Twitter to thank family and friends.
“It is official – I am in the team for the World Championships in Moscow,” said the 22-year-old, who came through the ranks with Edinburgh AC.
“Huge thank you to everyone who has helped get me here. West Linton Cross Country is where I learned my trade!”
Bowie, from Inverness Harriers, actually works in athletics with East Lothian Council and recorded two PBs in three days at the British Champs. He has a relay gold medal from Euro Under-23s two years ago.
Manchester-based McAslan is not yet even turned 20 but is steeped in the sport with her mother, uncle and grandfather all having represented Scotland in track and field.
The only disappointment from a Scottish perspective was Steph Twell’s omission. The 5000m British champion had a B standard but was left out with nobody picked for that event for women. Twell missed the Olympics through injury and was dropped from central UK funding but has recovered well. It is likely she will now compete at the Scottish championships in Glasgow on the same weekend (August 10/11) as the action starts in Moscow.
Adding his congratulations, Michael Cavanagh, Chairman Commonwealth Games Scotland said: “It is hugely encouraging to see how well Scottish athletes are performing this season. More than 30 athletes have posted Commonwealth Games selection standards for Team Scotland on at least one occasion and it is fantastic to see so many Scots selected for the World Championships with the opportunity to compete against the very best in the World.
“With a year still to go to Glasgow 2014 it augurs extremely well and I hope the Scottish public take the opportunity to buy tickets to watch the action for themselves, when they go on sale next month.”