Stephen Maguire believes five Scots selected for the World Indoors next month can act as an inspiration both for wannabe athletes and some of our more established internationals.
Three competing athletes represents the previous best figure for Scotland at this particular global event and obviously what happens in Poland could depend on relay selections and so on for the likes of Eilidh Child and Jamie Bowie.
But scottishathletics Director of Coaching Maguire feels Team GB and NI selection for our five athletes is helping to grow the sport’s profile – and can show teenagers at clubs as well as those already at a good level what can be achieved with hard work.
‘It is good news to have five selected for a World Indoors. I believe it has not happened before.
‘Indoors is good for a coach to assess what stage their athlete is at.
‘Some will prioritise it some won’t. Eilidh Child will focus on the relay this time and that’s great. She missed a bit of training so she needs to get back into that and then run the relay and hopefully help lead GB to a medal.
‘Eilish McColgan is an interesting one. She has not competed indoors this season and has been selected on strong outdoor times last season. If you look at her, she has the talent to mix it at the World Indoors and I don’t think with her coach she would have made the decision to be there if she wasn’t.
‘The Commonwealth Games is a big goal for our athletes – and there are different ways to get there in peak condition.
‘Eilidh has been to a major champs now on a few occasions but the other four are gaining important experience. They are heading off to a global event representing GB so they are clearly operating at a very high level. That’s good for the sport in Scotland.
‘Chris O’Hare, Laura Muir and Jamie Bowie had that experience at the World Champs in Moscow and now they have it again. Eilish has been to the Olympics and the Worlds.
‘For Jamie he is a member of the relay team again and that team, if they run to their potential, should be in the final. His experience of competing there should give him an impetus to chase the Glasgow 2014 standard as an individual athlete – because that is what I am looking for from Jamie.
‘It is similar for Chris and Laura because they are still developing athletes in terms of experience. Chris is 24 but has come through the collegiate system and that has educated him on how to race. Now he can spread his wings a wee bit and mix-it with the best at major champs.
Laura keeps raising the bar on her performances and we are all delighted about that.
‘For the profile of the sport in Scotland it is good. I see and hear people talking about Laura Muir and Chris O’Hare and rightly so – they deserve the coverage.
‘They have delivered when it matters. Your profile does not rise by accident.
‘Laura has run and won in Glasgow, Sheffield and then Birmingham. The manner she has won is impressive.
‘I think that can inspire both youngsters at our clubs and even some of our Scotland internationals who have not quite made it at GB level as yet. They have to be looking at that and think ‘Anything is possible’.
‘That’s not to put pressure on anyone who will be in Poland. But they are, in a sense, in a shop window on athletics in Scotland.
‘Jamie is another one – he competed in East District Champs in Scotland not so long ago and now is at a high level. They are showing it can be done if you work hard enough and maximise your talent.
‘Eilish, Laura and Jamie have spent a lot of their development and training time in Scotland and at Scottish clubs and Eilidh and Chris did so at Pitreavie and Edinburgh AC in their formative years. So it can be done.’