Women’s athletics in Scotland . . . landmarks 1919-1969

Scotland women at the 1960 WAAA Championships: (Back) Hilda McCann, Sheena Lofts, Esther Watt, Barbara Tait, Elizabeth-Mary Robertson. (Front) Anne Reilly, Alix Jamieson, Anne Wilson, Moira Kerr. Flanked by T. Williamson (coach) and J.Sinclair (Manager)

90 Years On . . . celebrating the formation of the Scottish Women’s AAA


Compiled by Arnold Black

1919    Women compete at the Aberdeen University Championships; Mathilda Menzies wins the 220 yards, high jump and long jump.

1921    First women’s international meeting held at Monte Carlo

1921    Federation Sportive Feminine Internationale (FSFI) formed to organize international track and field meets for women

1922    Women’s AAA formed in England.

1922    First World Games held in Paris

1930    Formation of Scottish Women’s Amateur Athletic Association

1930    The first women’s cross-country championship is held, won by Shettleston Harriers.

1931    First Scottish Women’s Track and Field Championships held at Ibrox Park; Laura Greig wins the 100 yards hurdles and 100 yards flat, for which she wins the Dalziel Trophy.

Laura Greig in a hurdles race in Aberdeen in 1930 (photo via Arnold Black)

1932    Nan Robson of Dundee Hawkhill wins the first women’s individual national cross-country title.

1932    Constance Johnson becomes the first Scottish woman to win a medal at the WAAA Championships, placing 2nd in the 880 yards.

1934    The Empire Games include women’s events for the first time. Scotland send a team of 7 athletes to the Games. The 660 Yards relay team win a bronze medal by finishing third of the three teams.

1936    Scotland’s women compete in an international track and field match for the first time, facing England, France, Holland and Sweden at Blackpool.

1939    Marjorie Gray and Rosamund Sellar, both of Edinburgh University, become the first Scottish women to win gold medals at the International University Games in Monte Carlo, Gray in the 200 metres (26.8) and Sellar in the long jump (5.09 metres).

1948    Former Elgin schoolgirl Margaret Erskine represents Great Britain in the long jump at the 1948 Olympic Games, the first Scottish woman to do so.

1949    Margaret Erskine becomes the first Scot to win a title at the WAAA Championships, winning the long jump with a jump of 5.37 metres.

1949    The SWAAA starts up again after the Second World War.

1950    Elspeth Hay wins a gold medal as part of the British sprint relay team at the European Championships.

1951    Quita Shivas (Aberdeen University) wins the 100 metres in 12.5 seconds at the University Games in Luxembourg.

1951    The first women’s international is held at Dunoon, Scotland finishing behind England but ahead of Ireland. Pat Devine wins the long jump and is also part of the winning Scotland relay team.

1960    Jenny Smart becomes the first Scottish woman to reach the final of the Olympic Games when she finishes 6th in the 100 metres.

1961    Jenny Smart sets a British record of 23.6 for 200 metres and a record-equalling 11.5 for 100 metres.

Dale Greig in action

1964    Dale Greig competes at the Isle of Wight marathon, completing the course in 3:27:45, a time that would be recognised as a world record.

1964    Rosemary Payne becomes the new British record holder for the discus, throwing 158’ 3½” (48.24 metres). Scottish athletes have held the record ever since.

1967    Scotland compete at the International Cross-Country Championships for the first time.

1967    Rosemary Stirling along with Pat Lowe and Pam Piercy set a 3 x 880 yards world record of 6:25.2 and also bettered the listed time for 3 x 800 metres with 6:20.0.

1969    Rosemary Stirling wins a European gold medal as part of the British 4×400 relay team.


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