We’ve recovered from the disappointment of learning that there will be no Wellington Scottish athletes at the Commonwealth Games. But we need not give up hope completely, because there will still be Scottish athletes.
One of the quirks of the Commonwealth Games is it lets Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England peel themselves apart from their Greater British identity and compete under their own banners.
So, if the British can pretend that they are four separate countries, we can pretend that the Scottish athletes are competing on our behalf.
With a population of 5.2 million the northern hemisphere version of Scottish had much better selection odds than the southern hemisphere version (pop. ~250)
Accordingly, Northern Scotland has supplemented our Gold Coast team with eleven distance or middle distance athletes. Sadly, there is no Laura Muir (best known to us southerners as the less gutsy of the Muir girls) but there are many other stars we can cheer for.
Most prominent among them, for me, is marathoner Robbie Simpson. Simpson and I have raced each other twice at World Mountain Running Championships. I’m convinced he remembers me well as the athlete tearing it up a mere kilometre or so behind him on Italian and Welsh mountains. Expect him to excel this year without me there to terrorise him.
The bigger Scottish name in the marathon however is Callum Hawkins who was fourth at the World Championships last year. Hawkins is perhaps best known in his homeland as the first Briton to beat Mo Farah in any race for seven years.
Perhaps the most impressive athlete on the team is Eilish McColgan – currently entered to compete in an incredible triple – the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m.
McColgan was initially renowned for her parents. Her mother Liz McColgan won gold at 10,000m at the Tokyo 1991 World Championships and silver at Seoul 1988 Olympic Games. Her stepfather John Nuttell ran in the 5000m at Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games and her father Peter ran in the 3000m steeplechase at Tokyo 1991 World Championships.
However Eilish is now a double Olympian and has now a 4.01 1500m time to match her mother and a faster 14.49 time for 5000m. If she completes all three events at the games it will be an extremely rare triple.
Also on our Scottish team are Guy Learmonth (800m), Lynsey Sharp (800m) Jake Wightman (800m, 1500m), Chris O’Hare (1500m), Steph Twell (1500m and 5000m), Beth Potter (10,000m) and Samantha Kinghorn (T54 1500m and T54 Marathon).
That’s a pretty impressive turnout! We all love to yell “Go Scottish!” And remember, they like beating England just as much as we do.
So let’s cheer them all on as if they are our own, and perhaps they’ll repay the favour by joining up with their Southern brethren in time for National Road Relays.