‘Our role models are helping us all raise the bar’ – David Ovens

Wednesday 6th April 2022

Olympic medallist Laura Muir on the start-line at Lanark for the Lindsays Short Course XC (photo by Bobby Gavin)

There’s a new edition of PB magazine in the final stages of production/distribution and due out to our members over the next few days.

We asked scottishathletics Chair, David Ovens, to pen the opening section ‘column’ a couple of weeks ago and David noted an excellent winter as many events returned post-Covid. And, of course, there’s so much to look forward to in 2022 . . . 

By David Ovens

‘At our recent Board meeting, we were delighted to rubberstamp a large swathe of Scottish National Records from the indoor track and field season.

‘Those performances, and others, reflect well on the achievements by our athletes and coaches in recent months.

‘These numerous impressions on Scottish all-time lists demonstrate emphatically that across all disciplines and age groups, from grassroots to elite, our sport is thriving and our coaches and athletes are delivering.

‘There are many reasons for the depth of success we are witnessing in Scotland at the moment.

‘We have incredibly strong foundations with a club structure which is second to none, a vast number of experienced and committed coaches and a volunteer network across our clubs, Officials, leagues, schools and communities who work tirelessly to support our sport.

‘But, more and more in Scotland, we benefit from incredible role models who have tasted success at the top level and yet will mix with our grassroots and young athletes, inspiring them to be the best they can be and to think that they too can stand on the podium at the Olympics or the Paralympics.

David Ovens chats with club representatives at our Club Conference back in October (photo by Bobby Gavin)

‘Whether it is Laura Muir, Jake Wightman and Andy Butchart mixing with our top club runners at Lanark, or Owen Miller presenting prizes to young athletes in Dunfermline, our developing athletes have role models they can look up to and relate to who are truly the best in the world.

‘These athletes and their coaches know what it takes to succeed and that knowledge and experience is recycled within our athletics ecosystem.

‘In recent years, one of our most inspirational athletes has been Chris O’Hare, who announced his retirement as a professional athlete earlier this year.

‘Chris has been an outstanding ambassador for athletics in Scotland and whilst I am sad to see him retiring, it is worth reflecting on his great career. Chris represented Scotland at two Commonwealth Games and was an Olympian at Rio 2016.

‘Chris memorably won silver in the 3000m at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow in 2019 and won two further European Bronze medals in addition to several British medals – and remarkably, he ran sub 4 minutes for the mile 25 times, holding the Scottish Record until very recently.

‘It was duly taken from him by first Jake Wightman and then by Olympic bronze medallist, Josh Kerr. All three are Edinburgh AC team-mates, of course.

‘We wish Chris and his family all the best for the future and thank him for the tremendous contribution he has made to athletics in Scotland.

Chris O’Hare claimed silver at Glasgow 2019 in the Men’s 3000m (photo by Bobby Gavin)

‘As the indoor season drew to a close, we were delighted to watch a strong Scottish contingent compete for GB and NI at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade at the end of March.

‘Congratulations to Jenny Selman, Erin Wallace, Adam Thomas, Guy Learmonth and Neil Gourley for their selection, capping off a great indoor season for each of them.

‘I am sure it was an exciting and learning experience for each of them and their coaches.

‘Looking forward to the summer, there is a lot to be optimistic about. We have the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, wedged in between the Worlds and Europeans, where our elite athletes can hopefully shine and bring home a clutch of medals.

‘But for most of us whose aspirations are to participate for our clubs, to break a PB or simply just to compete in order to finish an event, then the domestic programme of league matches, open graded meetings, regional and national competitions is something which we are all looking forward to.

‘Here’s hoping that the summer brings as much success for Scottish athletes and their coaches as we have experienced over this ‘Wonderful winter!’

Eilish McColgan is one of six Scots pre-selected for Team Scotland for the Commonwealths in Birmingham (photo by Jeff Holmes) 




Tags: Birmingham 2022, David Ovens, PB

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