Legacy is happening right here, right now in athletics in Scotland with the governing body having accepted a huge entry for their Age Group Champs.
Aberdeen Sports Village is the venue for the two-day event for athletes from U13 to U20 level – with almost 1100 have put their names forward.
That’s about 25 percent of the entire eligible membership entering the National Champs for 2014 to compete with the Commonwealth Games credited as a massive catalyst effect.
scottishathletics urged the teenagers to ‘Get out strong, Commit’ – to borrow a mantra from Hampden silver medallist Lynsey Sharp – with online entries having been taken during the Games. The figure of 1072 athletes tops last year’s tally by around 200.
‘We are absolutely thrilled with the response by clubs across the length and breadth of Scotland for our Age Group Champs with the number of athletes entered up by about 20 percent on 2013,’ said Nigel Holl, chief executive of scottishathletics.
‘For quite some time now, at scottishathletics, we have been talking positively about the legacy already delivered ahead of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. We were confident in saying that, because we have been able to admire and respect the work done by our 140 athletics clubs.
‘It is our member clubs across Scotland who deserve that recognition and credit. The coaches prepare the athletes day in day out, week in week out. Without that club and coach support, this legacy would not be feasible.
‘We’ve seen the double catalyst of the London Olympics and now Glasgow 2014 being held and the impact is there for all to see.
‘I’m hugely encouraged by so many youngsters in the teenage brackets committing to head to Aberdeen on August 23/24 and seeking to make their mark and become the next Eilidh Child, Chris O’Hare or Lynsey Sharp. Role models like Libby Clegg, Lynsey and Eilidh are vital to us.
‘We held the Age Groups in Aberdeen last year very successfully but this year were due to go to Grangemouth, which of course is more centrally located geographically.
‘But we had to change that arrangement when it became clear the track at Grangemouth was to be replaced this summer with the surfaces from Hampden and Lesser Hampden – with Crownpoint in Glasgow also being relaid. So that is another, physical legacy of the Games – improvements to facilities.
‘More than two years ago at scottishathletics we created the Club Together programme which has installed part-time paid officers at clubs who are asked to kick-start and co-ordinate recruitment. That’s recruitment of athletes, volunteer helpers, officials and trained coaches.
‘It is happening now at around 25 clubs across Scotland and our analysis tells us we’ve helped bring around 4000 people into the sport since 2012 – and with almost 90 percent of those people retained.
‘Our Scottish Senior Champs are this weekend – a very high entry level, and we are really looking forward to returning to the Ayrshire Athletics Arena who looked after our athletes so well leading up to the Commonwealth Games. The support from East Ayrshire Council was and is superb.
‘With East Ayrshire’s help, we are streaming live on the web the Scottish Senior and Para Success Champs over two days and that’s another first for us. Building interest in the sport is another important aspect of what we do on the communication side of things.’
The entries for Aberdeen follow another hectic weekend for Scottish athletes of all ages and stages and strands of the sport. Teenagers competed at the Celtic Games in Ireland at U16 and U18 level, with a dozen event wins; Glasgow City AC won promotion to the Premiership of the British Athletics League (Men’s); teenagers won medals at the England Athletics Combined Events Champs in Bedford.
In Glasgow, there was a big turnout for a special endurance event, the GAA Miler Meet, with races over 800m and 3000m while three Scots – Andrew Douglas, Andrew Lawler and Catriona Graves – won GB trial races in hill running in Yorkshire and will be named for the World Champs in Italy next month.
There were also Scottish medals at the IWAS World Juniors in Stoke, including a 1500m gold for Tullibody’s Meggan Dawson-Farrell who was seventh in the Commonwealth final in that event.