Steph Twell and Eilish McColgan have had 5000m success in recent years in Birmingham (photo by Mark Shearman)
One glance at the ‘medal table’ from the Muller British Championships in Birmingham over the past couple of years is all that is required to confirm the feeling that Scottish athletes have delivered impressive performances in spades at this event.
No fewer than 35 medals have been collected at the Alexander Stadium over 2016 and 2017 with a string of gold medals among those numerous visits to the podium.
That success was duly reflected in the Scottish representation in the GB and NI team for the Olympics in Rio in 2016 and then for the London 2017 World Champs some 12 months ago.
This time, athletes are competing for places at the European Championships in Berlin in Germany at the start of August – although the qualification period for applicable performances runs deeper into July with a team selection announcement not due until July 25.
There is a Athletics World Cup element, too, with event winners having the chance to gain selection for that big meeting as well, with countries only fielding one athlete per event at the London Stadium.
Nonetheless, a top two finish for those with the standard already achieved – which applies to the likes of Laura Muir, Allan Smith, Zoey Clark and Beth Dobbin – will secure an automatic slot this weekend
And for those operating just outside the qualifying standards there is the very real contest for places on the Muller British Championship podium to try and bolster the overall ‘team Scotland’ medal haul, with 18 won last year and 17 back in 2016.
Zoey Clark took gold last year in Birmingham to secure her pace in the London 2017 team (photo British Athletics/Getty Images)
Here’s the list of 2017 medallists at Birmingham:
GOLD: Andy Butchart, Nick Percy, Eilidh Doyle, Chris O’Hare, Zoey Clark, Steph Twell.
SILVER: Eilish McColgan, Josh Kerr, David Smith, Jax Thoirs, Guy Learmonth, Kirsty Law, Emma Nuttall, Rachel Hunter
BRONZE: Lynsey Sharp, Jake Wightman, Nikki Manson, Mark Dry.
With a couple of high profile athletes expected to miss out – like Butchart – replicating that may well be very difficult indeed but it will still be exciting to watch how a whole host of younger athletes fare like Sol Sweeney, Jemma Reekie, Mhairi Hendry, Jamie Williamson among them.
Lest we forget, some 11 years ago, at the 2007 British Champs, the medal tally for Scottish athletes was . . . eight in total, with Andrew Lemoncello the sole gold medallist in the 3000m steeplechase.
So hopes will remain high for a strong Scottish effort and the Alexander Stadium may yet become a ‘theatre of dreams’ for athletes come mid-afternoon on Sunday when a string of finals are scheduled.
All at scottishathletics want to wish all the best to all the Scottish athletes headed south this weekend and their families and coaches. We know many from clubs involved in the development of these athletes over a number of years will be looking out to see how they fare.
Nick Percy – took gold last year to win British title (photo by British Athletics/Getty Images)