Kelsey Stewart helps Scotland women to second place in the 4 x 400m relay – photo by Bobby Gavin
Under any ‘normal’ circumstances, Cameron Tindle and Kelsey Stewart would have spent most of Saturday in the company of their ‘class-mates’ with the scottishathletics Youth Academy.
The two current intakes of promising 16 and 17-year-olds were at Celtic Park for education sessions on the morning of the Sainsbury’s Glasgow International before crossing the road to watch the action.
Instead, Tindle ended up clocking another 60m PB then conducting a round of media interviews – with the written Press as well as broadcast – on how he felt when World Indoor Champion Richard Kilty false started.
Stewart, the 17-year-old sprinter from Stonehaven, for her part had found herself signing autographs for athletes only three or four years her junior and then ran a fine anchor leg as Scotland’s 4 x 400m Women out-gunned France and Germany for second place.
It just was not your average indoor meeting, then, for 16-year-old Tindle, who hails from Berwick and represents Edinburgh AC, and 400m specialist Stewart of Aberdeen AAC.
‘It was a great atmosphere and I have never experienced anything like this, so I was just here to enjoy it – and I definitely did,’ beamed Cameron, who ran 6.92 to improve the PB he ran the week before the National Open to claim the Scotland vest on offer for the Sainsbury’s Glasgow International. He even held his nerve after Kilty was disqualified and his maturity shone through in a round of post-race interviews.
‘I don’t really tend to get distracted by things like a false start,’ said Cameron, who has been on the scottishathletics radar for a couple of years although we try to stick to a policy of not over-hyping young athletes.
‘I just keep focused on what I’m on the track to do, which is to cross the line in as quick a time as possible. So if it was a false start, these things happen in athletics. You’ve got to keep focused.
‘It was a great experience for me. Getting a Scotland vest at 16 is brilliant – now I have to build on this.
‘Richard was a bit unlucky to get disqualified. It was great just sitting in with him. And it’s unlucky because I would have liked to have raced against him. But that just happens in the sport.
‘I didn’t speak to him before the race, I was trying to concentrate on myself. I’m going back to school on Monday in Berwick. No, I won’t be boasting about beating the world champion . . .’
Stewart, who turns 18 next month, was on the final leg for the Women’s 4 x 4 after good runs by Kirsten McAslan, Zoey Clark and Diane Ramsay. She took over in second, slipped to third but then recovered to over-haul her German opponent: thanks to a combination of willpower and the adrenaline fired by a Scotland support.
‘I could not believe the noise of the crowd and as I went down the back straight the German was still a bit ahead of me,’ said Kelsey.
But with that roar I thought ‘‘I just cannot give this up and let her take it’’. So I did my best to get up with her and we are all delighted to get second in the race.
‘It was great to win a Senior Scotland vest and have this kind of experience at my age. But I don’t plan on doing the Senior Indoor Champs – I will do the Scottish Age Groups and the British Age Groups and then look to the outdoor season.’
Myles Edwards is 10 years older than Tindle but there’s little doubt the Scotland vest meant an awful lot to the Aberdeen middle distance runner.
He ran an indoor PB in the 1500m with, in many ways, the appearance at 26 the culmination of years of hard work.
‘I’ve no idea how many training sessions that is since I joined Aberdeen AAC at the age of nine but I guess it is into the thousands rather than the hundreds,’ grinned Myles.
‘There were a couple of years in there when I was not fully committed, right enough! But, seriously, it was great to get that Scotland vest after all those years and it felt great even in the warm-up wearing it.
‘You train for moments like this and it will make sure I keep working hard and trying to improve. I’m not as young as some of the others and I think, for the likes of young Kelsey, there’s an exciting future ahead.
‘It was a fast pace in the 1500m and I sort of knew what was going to happen. Especially when the 800m came up at 1.58 or 1.59 or something. Nobody likes being dropped off the back there when others are finishing but you just have to give it your best and I’m run an indoor PB in the end. You want to be in a race like that.
‘The crowd was fantastic and I am grateful for the opportunity. I won’t be swapping this vest, put it that way.’