With under 300 days to go until Birmingham 2022, a stellar line-up of track stars are the first athletes to be selected for Team Scotland for next summer’s Commonwealth Games.
Laura Muir, Josh Kerr, Jake Wightman, Eilish McColgan, Jemma Reekie and Andy Butchart have all been selected on the back of outstanding performances at the Tokyo Olympic Games, with an even split of those with past Commonwealth Games experience and those making their Team Scotland debut.
Tokyo 1,500m silver medallist Laura Muir has come a long way from the young athlete who competed at Glasgow 2014 and, having missed Gold Coast in 2018 to concentrate on her veterinary medicine exams, she is full of ambition to add a Commonwealth Games medal to her collection. She is also no stranger to success in the Games’ host city, taking World Indoor silver and bronze medals at Arena Birmingham three years ago.
Reflecting on her selection Laura said “I’m absolutely delighted to have been selected to represent Team Scotland at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“Representing Scotland is always a very special honour and my aim is very much to go for gold next summer. Birmingham is a city which holds some great memories for me, including winning silver and bronze medals at the World Indoors three years ago, so I’m really looking forward to the Games.”
Fellow Tokyo medalist Josh Kerr is set to make his Team Scotland debut in Birmingham after becoming the first British man in 33 years to win an Olympic medal in the 1,500m. He shattered his personal best to win bronze in 3.29.05, not just a new Scottish record but only a quarter of a second away from Mo Farah’s British best.
Kerr, who races for Edinburgh AC, said, “I’m really proud to have been selected to represent Team Scotland next summer at my first Commonwealth Games. Representing Scotland has always been a dream for me and I’m really pleased that I get to do it at a Games so close to home.
“I have no doubt the atmosphere will be electric and I’m looking forward to bringing a medal home to Scotland.”
Dundee’s Eilish McColgan will compete at her third Commonwealth Games and is full of confidence on the back of a season that saw her erase Paula Radcliffe’s long-standing British 5,000m record in Oslo and record her best ever Olympic result in Tokyo with 9th place in the 10,000m. She has carried that form onto the road, placing third on the British all-time list for both 10,000m and the half-marathon in recent weeks.
Speaking about her selection Eilish said, “For us in Scotland the Commonwealth Games are important. It’s special, it’s unique, it’s different and something we all want to do.
“The standard in Scotland at distance events is getting stronger and stronger. A lot of us have grown up together – that’s part of what makes being part of Team Scotland a little bit special.
“We have travelled the length and breadth of the country together, grown up together and we’re still here, still running fast and the standard is continuing to improve.”
Jake Wightman is named for a third Games appearance after bagging a brilliant 1500m bronze on the final night of track and field at Gold Coast 2018. Having seen long-time friend and club mate Kerr take his Scottish record in Tokyo, he will be keen to renew that rivalry as he aims for another podium finish in Birmingham.
Jemma Reekie has had a meteoric rise in the sport over the last few years from European Junior champion in 2017 to fourth place at her first Olympics in Tokyo this summer. Double European U23 champion in 2019, she hit the headlines in February 2020 with three British indoor records in the space of a week over the 800m, 1500m and Mile and will be one to watch as she competes at her first Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Another making his Team Scotland debut in Birmingham will be Andy Butchart, having had to withdraw through injury after being named for Gold Coast. Selection comes at a busy time for the double Olympian as he is set to become a father for the first time this month with partner Lynsey Sharp.
Elinor Middlemiss, Team Scotland Chef de Mission, said: “We are delighted to welcome our first athletes to Team Scotland for Birmingham 2022. Glasgow and Gold Coast were very successful for athletics and with such a high-calibre line-up showing their commitment to the Commonwealth Games in this first wave of selections, I am confident of another strong result in Birmingham.
“Congratulations to all athletes selected, as well as their families, clubs and coaches, and we look forward to Team Scotland 2022 taking shape over the coming months.”
All athletes named today have been confirmed following nominations from Scottish Athletics and subsequent ratification by Commonwealth Games Scotland.