Commonwealth Games Scotland marked the 300 days to go milestone until the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow by naming the first 23 athletes to be selected to represent Team Scotland.
Steph Twell, Eilidh Child and Chris O’Hare are among those to have secured their spots on the team for the Games taking place in the Scottish city from July 23 – August 3, where Scotland aims to select its largest team ever that will achieve at least 33 medals – its highest ever tally.
Twell will be looking to improve on the bronze she brought home from Delhi in 2010. That medal came in the 1500m, while she also secured a fouth-place finish in the 5000m, the distance at which the Mick Woods-coached athlete has booked her spot for Glasgow following a period of serious injury.
Twell will be joined by Laura Whittle over the longer distance, while Laura Muir will contest the 1500m as well as the 800m, the distance at which the 20-year-old made the semi-finals at the recent World Championships in Moscow despite being better known as a 1500m runner and having claimed bronze over that distance at the European Under-23 Championships earlier this year.
Child will be looking to continue her impressive run of form and also go one better than her silver claimed in Delhi three years ago as she lines up in the 400m hurdles, while O’Hare is one of two men’s track representatives announced in this first wave of selections. The World Championships finalist will contest the 1500m as Scotland’s 800m champion Guy Learmonth will run the two-lap distance.
Steeplechaser Eilish McColgan has also had her spot confirmed, as have the women’s 4x400m relay team, with athletes to be named next year.
Marathoners Susan Partridge and Derek Hawkins both posted the required times at April’s London Marathon. Partridge went on to finish 10th in Moscow in August with a time of 2:36:24 in hot conditions and later admitted that having crossed the line as the second Commonwealth athlete had given her cause to reconsider her target for the home Games. “It’s a reassurance that I have a realistic target for the Games and that maybe my target should be to win, not just to podium,” the 33-year-old said at the time.
Hawkins only moved across to the marathon late last year having become the Scottish Cross Country champion in 2011 and 2012. He clocked 2:14:04 on his debut at the distance in Germany which remains his personal best and was the best British finisher in London earlier this year, only his second-ever marathon.
Scotland will also be well represented in field events with 11 athletes having already booked their places on the team.
They include three hammer throwers – Mark Dry, Andy Frost and Susan McKelvie – and four high jumpers in Allan Smith, David Smith, Jayne Nisbet and Emma Nuttall. Two long jumpers have also been named with Jade Nimmo and Sarah Warnock having secured their Team Scotland places and they will be joined by the new Scottish record holder in the pole vault, Jax Thoirs, and 18-year-old Nick Percy, double Commonwealth Youth Games medallist, in the discus.
Back on the track and Paralympic and World silver medallist Libby Clegg will compete in the T12 100m as she makes her debut for Scotland, while 20-year-old Meggan Dawson-Farrell will compete in the T54 1500m. She will be joined in the event by 17-year-old Samantha Kinghorn, the youngest athlete to be selected so far.
Making the announcement, Team Scotland Chef de Mission Jon Doig commented: “We have witnessed some amazing performances from athletes this summer striving to secure their places to represent Team Scotland at our home Games next year.
“Congratulations to each and every one of them and they can now go into their winter training period fully focused on reaching their peak performance next July in front of a fired-up home crowd.
“I am confident that over the next nine months they will be joined by a record number of fellow Scots, as we aim to have our largest and most successful team ever at Glasgow 2014,” he added, with Scotland’s most successful Games having come in Melbourne in 2006 where Team Scotland won 29 medals – 11 gold, seven silver and 11 bronze.
Track and field action at Glasgow 2014 will take place at a ‘new and improved’ Hampden Park, with work underway to transform the stadium from a football and concert venue into a world-class track and field arena. The temporary track and raised surface of the arena will create a 44,000-seater stadium, which will host the Closing Ceremony for the Games as well as the track and field events.
Team Scotland athletes selected for Glasgow 2014 so far:
Susan Partridge, Marathon
Derek Hawkins, Marathon
Libby Clegg, T12 100m
Eilidh Child, 400m hurdles
Guy Learmonth, 800m
Chris O’Hare, 1500m
Laura Muir, 1500m
Meggan Dawson-Farrell, T54 1500m
Samantha Kinghorn, T54 1500m
Eilish McColgan, 3000m Steeplechase
Laura Whittle, 5000m
Stephanie Twell, 5000m
Mark Dry, Hammer
Andrew Frost, Hammer
Susan McKelvie, Hammer
Nicholas Percy, Discus
Allan Smith, High Jump
David Smith, High Jump
Jayne Nisbet, High Jump
Emma Nuttall, High Jump
Jade Nimmo, Long Jump
Sarah Warnock, Long Jump
Jax Thoirs, Pole Vault
Women’s 4x400m Relay