High jumper David Smith returns to the Emirates Arena this weekend seeking Scottish Senior title success – and another crack at the Native Record.
The Giffnock North AC athlete cleared 2.24m at the venue when competing for the Commonwealth Select in the Glasgow International last Saturday.
That landed him the Scottish Native Record (the best by a Scot in Scotland) by a single centimetre from the height set by his training partner, Allan Smith, 12 months ago.
David finished ahead of Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz in the Glasgow International and a move to Birmingham to work with the Englishman and GB coach, Fuzz Ahmed, is paying off for both Smiths as they start to fulfil the rich potential displayed in their early years here.
‘I learned an awful lot with my coach, Ken Allan, over the years at Giffnock North and even though I’ve moved south I still feel very much part of the club and the group,’ said David.
‘Now I am working with Fuzz Ahmed and top athletes and that has been a help. You really do have to bring your ‘A game’ to training.
‘If you don’t, you will get destroyed by your mates with the banter that is flying about! Every session has to be spot-on or else you are in trouble with these guys.
‘I really don’t want to waste a week or waste a day. I’ve had injuries, as well, over the past two years and that held me back a little bit in where I wanted to be. So getting in the winter training this year has helped.
‘It has made a difference and now I have managed a PB at the Glasgow International which was great. Last year, I broke my foot and had to work to get back for part of the outdoor season. I took a bronze at the British Champs in Birmingham in July and had a couple of jumps after that but basically that was it for 2013.
‘I made the Commonwealth standard thankfully and it is good to have that secured. But, overall, it was a hard season.
‘Allan and I are sharing a house in Birmingham. It is the first time I’ve been away from the family and we are settled in now.
‘Will I give him some stick about taking his Native Record? Yeah! Actually, maybe not. We tend to keep quiet about athletics in the house – we try and leave that at the track and switch off a wee bit. And, anyway, you never know when he might go out and jump higher . . .
‘Now I will be back at the Emirates on Sunday for the Scottish Seniors – I am looking forward to competing again.’
Sprinter Ryan Oswald is another targeting victory and a record with the Pitreavie athlete, outdoor champ at 100m and 200m last summer, desperate to break the Scottish indoor record for 200m.
Olympic and Commonwealth medallist Elliot Bunney holds that with 21.28 but the 24-year-old, who represented Scotland last weekend, believes he can better that at the Emirates on Sunday.
‘I was only nine hundredths always from it indoors last season so hopefully this year I can actually land the Scottish 200m indoor record,’ said Oswald, who plans to head to America for training and a chance to chase the Commonwealth qualifying standard.
‘It was good to represent Scotland in the Glasgow International against some really top guys over 150m but I will be better prepared after another week’s training.’
The Seniors on Sunday has drawn entries from around 300 entries with more than one thousand athletes of all ages set to take to the same track graced by stars like Eilidh Child, Chris O’Hare, Laura Muir and Guy Learmonth last weekend.
A scottishathletics superTEAMS event for U12s will feature more than 400 kids taking on four disciplines apiece while relays on Sunday, incorporated into the Seniors, feature another 400 athletes of all ages. With a Masters XC Champs in Hawick on Saturday attracting 350, there will be close to 1500 people of all ages and stages competing over the 48-hour period to the delight of scottishathletics chief executive, Nigel Holl.
‘It is great to see athletes of all ages proving their commitment to competition,’ said Holl.
‘I think last weekend was a wonderful advert for Scottish athletes at the top level but we’re acutely aware you don’t get to that kind of status, the media coverage, the slots in high profile events, without an awful lot of hard work – by athletes, coaches and clubs.
‘We’re always conscious of the retention issue – keeping people in the sport through the teenage years – and that’s why entry numbers for the Senior Champs are always important to us.
‘The superTEAMS is a concept which has grown significantly in the past two or three years and the key there is all about enjoyment. It is very young kids taking part and trying four different events which is important at that development stage.’
*Scottish Senior Champs are at the Emirates on Sunday from 10am. Adults can watch for £3 with U16s free.