Team Scotland’s women’s 4x400m relay team cruised into Tuesday’s final despite being without their most decorated member, Lee McConnell.
In the absence of McConnell, who earlier placed fifth in the 200m final, the quartet of Gemma Nicol, Kathryn Evans, Claire Gibson and Eilidh Child placed third, with Child easing up on the home straight, happy that qualification was secure.
“We wanted to give Eilidh as little work as possible,” explained Gibson, “so she could cruise home nice and comfortably, to give her a bit of a rest.”
“They did that perfectly,” said Child, whose 400m hurdles silver medal had come just 24 hours earlier. “I was able to see on the big screen that we were comfortably in third, so I eased in coming in that last fifty metres.”
With McConnell set to be brought in for the final, they are confident there is more to come. “We’ve got the bonus of having Lee to come in,” said Evans, who described the race as “amazing, and the memory of it will live with me forever. Whether I get to run in the final or not, that was an amazing experience. I’ve never heard anything like the noise the crowd made on the back straight.”
McConnell, who cheered the team on from the sidelines, admitted to disappointment at fifth in her second event, the 200m. “I’m quite disappointed,” she said. “I think if I’d run the bend like I did yesterday, I’d have been in a better position on the home straight to be able to put up a better fight and challenge for a medal.
“It’s good running the 200m,” she continued, “but it’s been a long week and I’m not as fresh as those girls. I’m pleased I could be as close to them as I was, considering I’ve run the 400m already, and that this isn’t my main event.
“When I started [the series] I was looking just to get to the final, but once I’d made it to the final I was looking to do better.”
There was a surprise for 1500m runner Alastair Hay, who finished seventh in his heat and all but conceded any chance of making the final. But his race was fast, and Hay, despite stumbling on the third lap, was one of three from his heat to go through as one of the fastest losers.
“There was a bit of a trip and I found myself playing catch up a bit,” he said. “But I should have put myself in a better position at the start. A couple of guys took it out quite quick, and I thought it might come back a bit, but I should have stuck with them a bit more. I’ve had a bit of illness, but it’s not an excuse.
“The atmosphere was electric – it’s much better in there than on the telly.”