Some of Scotland's top athletes as well as a host of international stars are heading to Glasgow this weekend for the 119th scottish
athletics Senior National Championships.
The Championships are returning to Scotstoun Stadium on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 July for the first time since its £18million refurbishment. And in a bold move scottishathletics has teamed up with Glasgow Life to stage the men's pole vault finals in the city's iconic George Square on Friday 15 July.
A fully accredited 45 metre runway and a temporary seating bank will be constructed in the shadow of Glasgow City Chambers for the free event, which is aimed at bringing the sport to a wider audience. The warm up will get underway at 4pm, with the competition starting at around 5.30pm. Clyde 1’s Gavin Pearson will be on site to entertain the crowds throughout the event.
Current Scottish record holder Gregor MacLean and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games hopeful Jax Thoirs will be among those hitting the heights in George Square. They will be joined by stars from Wales, England and Denmark in Scotland’s first ever street athletics event.
MacLean said: “The street vault on Friday will be a great experience for the public and for us athletes. There will be a great deal of pressure on the competitors as the spectators are much closer and can interact with the athletes a lot more, compared to it being at a stadium. I am very excited as it is my second street vault, but first in Scotland. Also I am jumping quite well at the moment so will be looking to exceed my Scottish record that I set when out in Finland.”
The action then moves to Scotstoun Stadium on Saturday and Sunday for the 100m, 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m, 1500m, 3000m steeplechase, 5000m, sprint hurdles, high jump, hammer, shot putt, javelin, discus, triple jump and long jump. Tickets costing £3 for the Scotstoun finals will be available from the stadium on the day.
Leading the field is 400m specialist Lee McConnell, who is a double bronze medallist in both the World and European Championships and a silver medallist in the Commonwealth Games. She will be joined fellow 400m runner Eilidh Child who is also a Commonwealth Games silver medal winner. Middle distance runner, Freya Murray, who rose to fame at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games by reaching the finals in both the 5,000m and 10,000m is also taking part.
Murray said: "I’m really looking forward to the weekend as I’ve not competed since the Scottish National Cross Country Championships. It’ll be great to be back on the track and race in a championship event with good home support and enjoy the brilliant new Scotstoun Stadium."
A number of Scotland's rising stars tipped to shine at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will also be taking the next steps in their careers at the National Championships. Scottish under-17 record holder in the 400m Kris Robertson and hammer thrower Christopher Bennett will be taking centre stage.
As well as athletes from Scotland and across Great Britain, four Zambian track stars, who are in Glasgow for a pre-London 2012 Olympic Games training camp will be competing. A number of athletes from New Zealand will also add to what promises to be one of the most exciting National Championships for some time.
Chief Executive of scottishathletics, Nigel Holl, said: "This is where our Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games heroes will emerge – at the fantastic Scotstoun and the iconic George Square. This weekend gives a chance for Scotland’s best to shine in Glasgow and for Scotland to show its support and appreciation. If you have never seen athletics live… give it a try in Glasgow this weekend – you won’t be disappointed."
Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor George Redmond, said: “There has never been a more exciting time for sport in Glasgow. Once again the city is leading the way by hosting the country’s first ever street athletics event in George Square as part of the National Championships. It promises to be a superb showcase for athletics, bringing the sport to a whole new audience.
“The National Championships will also shine the spotlight on some of our best up and coming Scottish stars who will be hoping to lead the way when it comes to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Combined it makes it a weekend op top-class athletics that is not to be missed.”
Sunday’s finals will include the ‘Kukri’ power hour, starting at 2pm, which will feature some of the top events and athletes including the 100m, 110m hurdles, 400m and 800m.
Laura Thomas, Group Marketing Director of Kukri, said: “Kukri are thrilled to be involved in the scottishathletics Senior National Championships, delighted not only to be supporting the power hour on Sunday but also the pole vaulting showcase in the city on Friday evening. This is a great new partnership for Kukri GB. We were able to get involved with scottishathletics in Delhi in 2010 but this announcement cements our commitment to athletics and our business in Scotland. We wish everyone taking part at the weekend all the very best.”