MacKenzie battles through snow to qualify for Commonwealth Games and MacLean breaks Scottish Record

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Rachael MacKenzie left Inverness at 8am on Sunday to head through the snow to Glasgow for the Senior Champs – and now she could make a return journey for the Commonwealth Games.

The 26-year-old high jumper claimed her first Commonwealth Games standard with a 1.80m PB clearance at the Emirates Arena.

Now MacKenzie needs to clear that height on one more occasion to put herself firmly in the frame for selection to join Emma Nuttall and Jayne Nisbet at Glasgow 2014.

It was one of the main highlights on a day when pole vaulter, Gregor MacLean, claimed a Native Record for indoors with a 5.30m clearance.

MacLean, not yet selected for the Games, had a stab at 5.41m to push up his own recent National Record but didn’t get over at that height.

Edinburgh AC’s Allan Hamilton was a double event winner as he took gold in the long jump and the men’s 60m sprint – with Kathryn Christie repeating that feat with a couple of decent performances in the 60m and 200m.

All this as other to collect golds included Scotland internationals such as Gemma Werrett (60m hurdles) and Mark Mitchell (1500m), who had featured in the sold-out Glasgow International the previous week.

Fife AC’s Jenny Tan did well to take the 800m gold only minutes after appearing in the 400m final, where she had finished third behind winner Maria Thomas.

‘I left early on Sunday morning to get through the snow to Glasgow and it was definitely worth it,’ said high jumper MacKenzie.

‘I’ve been attempting 1.80 for a while so it was great to clear it today. I felt good warming up today. I had changed my run-up this week and it seemed to help.

‘My PB was 1.77 By the time I was trying 1.83m I was exhausted and it wasn’t going to happen – I’m happy enough with 1.80m.

‘With the Games being in Glasgow you really want to be there and I’ve always thought the standard was achievable for me.

‘I feel confident I can get a second standard jumping outdoors and this the first time I’ve ever jumped indoors – we don’t have a facility like this near Inverness.’

Ray Bobrownicki is another high jumper with Hampden ambitions.

The American, now resident in Edinburgh, is awaiting a British passport and his 2.17 clearance to win the high jump in what is effectively his second Commonwealth Games qualifying standard.

Hamilton came up with the third best long jump of all-time at the National Open back in January and his winning jump this weekend was only a couple of centimetres short of that at 7.42m.

Christie, of Banchory Stonehaven, won the Women’s 60m final – from Zoey Clark and Jill Cherry – and Hamilton made it a double with a Scottish lead for 2014 with 6.87 to claim it from Ross Maxwell (VP-Glasgow) and Stephen Dunlop (Aberdeen).

Christie’s 7.56 was a good PB for the Scotland international and her 200m time of 24.20 was the fifth equal best indoors all-time by a Scot.

‘It is a good days work and nice to pick up a couple of golds,’ said Allan, who is coached by John Scott.

‘The long jump was decent again and I am pleased with the way I have started 2014 with that. I was stuck on 7.39 for a couple of years so to go to 7.44 at the National Open and 7.42 in the Seniors to my mind is a step forward. I think a couple of the fouls were up towards 7.65.

‘I’ve put a bit of focus on the long jump now as I chase the Commonwealth Games standard. I have two comps left – the British Champs next week and the BUCS and I will just do the long jump at those.

‘The 60m was pleasing, though, because I won it last year and it was a good feeling to retain the title.’

Chukwudi Onyia won the Men’s triple jump with 15.21 as MacLean took that pole vault victory with teenager Fraser O’Rourke collecting a bronze.

Other event winners on Sunday included Greg Louden (400m), Lennie Waite (1500m), Nony Mordi (triple jump), Jack Walker (800m) and Michael Downie (60m hurdles), Grant Plenderleith (200m).


*scottishathletics Age Group Champs are at the Emirates Arena on February 15 and 16. Entry is £3 for adults, free for kids.