Glasgow 2014 silver medallist Lynsey Sharp will captain Scotland at the Loughborough International – as a young team starts the countdown to the next Commonwealth Games.
The Hampden and European medallist is with the 4 x 400m relay squad for the traditional early-season international event which features six teams.
Scottish athletes are also set to compete for Loughborough University, GB and NI U20s and British Universities, as England and Wales complete the opposition for Sunday’s event at the Paula Radcliffe Stadium.
Sharp will race in her first 800m of the season on Sunday evening in Manchester before then joining the Scotland squad and taking up her captain’s role.
‘I am delighted to captain Scotland at the Loughborough International and will support my team-mates in any way I can,’ said Lynsey.
‘There are a few young athletes involved this year and if any of them needs a word of advice or encouragement then I will try and help them out.
‘We have Scottish athletes competing in Sunday in more than just the Scotland team, of course, such is the nature of the Loughborough International event. And it still quite early in the season. But I think already in 2015 we have seen some promising signs that Scotland have some talented, hard-working athletes who can make an impact.
‘It is hard to believe in many ways but it is already less than three years to the next Commonwealth Games in Australia in April 2018.
‘There’s no doubt that the preparation and planning for something like that has to start early and I think events like Loughborough certainly help in that process.’
Eilidh Child misses out on an 11th Loughborough appearance for Scotland with a slight hip injury while the likes of Kirsten McAslan, British indoor 400m champion, opted to focus on final university exams.
With Manchester middle distance races and the 10,000m British champs at Highgate in London on Saturday evening, there will be Scots competing in various venues this weekend and Director of Coaching, Rodger Harkins, stressed that any analysis of Loughborough needs to take into account various factors.
Rodger said: ‘Since we announced the team for Loughborough late last week, there have been a few alterations. I congratulate and welcome those who will now be joining us at the International match. As we’ve said previously, it is a good opportunity – albeit that it is early in the season – and we see this is a starting point on the next Commonwealth Games cycle.
‘We have also had three talented and hard-working young athletes named by British Athletics for the GB and NI U20 team to compete on Sunday. Well done to Mhairi Hendry, Jack Lawrie and Kelsey Stewart and their coaches, clubs and families on these selections.
‘Their selections have not happened by accident – they are the result of years of dedication to their sport and to improving their own standards and I am delighted that all three are currently within our National Academy set-up.
‘We’ve had a couple of those originally selected miss out because of important University exams. I think in some ways we are a victim of our own success in that, with a young team named for Glasgow 2014 last summer and that being replicated here, we’re asking a fair bit of some young athletes. Often, we understand totally the reasons when someone makes a choice not to compete.
‘I am pleased to say Lynsey Sharp has accepted a captaincy role for Scotland this Sunday.
‘Lynsey now has lots of experience having been at the Olympics in 2012 and won European and Commonwealth medals. We’ve a number of young athletes who will be involved and I’ve asked Lynsey to make herself available to them if they want a word of advice or encouragement.
‘I’m sure she will do that very well and hopefully her experience and personality will rub off. Of course, she is with the 4 x 400m squad so there’s a direct link there with the other team members and, with it being one of the last events, she can be around a bit earlier to support others.
‘Let me stress once again that we will be looking at the performances of Scots across more than one team on Sunday. And, in the case of the teenagers in particular, we’re not putting people under pressure – we’re simply trying to give people a taste of a higher level and hopefully they can react to that and prove they might be athletes who can perform when it counts.’
100m: Adam Thomas
200m: Cameron Tindle
400m: Grant Plenderleith
800m: Ben Greenwood
1500m: Myles Edwards
3000m: Ian Williamson
400m H: David Martin
3000m S/C: Lachlan Oates
High Jump: David Smith
Long Jump: Peter Muirhead
Triple Jump: Chuxx Onyia
Pole Vault: Gregor MacLean
Discus: Angus McInroy
Shot: Jamie Stevenson
Hammer: Chris Bennett
Javelin: Greg Millar
4 x 100m Relay: Adam Thomas, Alec Thomas, Stephen Dunlop, Cameron Tindle
4 x 400m Relay: Grant Plenderleith, David Martin, Martin Lipton, Ben Greenwood
100m: Kathryn Christie
200m: Alisha Rees
400m: Zoey Clark
800m: Emily Dudgeon
1500m: Kathryn Gillespie
3000m: Steph Pennycook
400m H: Katie Purves
Long Jump: Sarah Warnock
Triple Jump: Zara Asante
Pole Vault: Courtney MacGuire
Discus: Kirsty Law
Hammer: Rachel Hunter
Javelin: Aileen Rennie
Shot: Kirsty Yates
4 x 100m Relay: Kathryn Christie, Alisha Rees, Selina Henderson, Jill Cherry
4 x 400m Relay: Lynsey Sharp, Diane Ramsay, Zoey Clark, Kelsey Stewart