Eilish McColgan is one of six top Scots already pre-selected for Birmingham (photo by Jeff Holmes)
David Ovens believes 2022 will hold great excitement for athletics in Scotland – with the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham centre stage at elite level.
And our Chair is firmly convinced that performances at international level do have an inspirational and motivational effect further down the pathway and maintains momentum in our sport.
We spoke to David for a special You Tube channel interview shortly before Christmas and he remains optimistic about the months ahead despite, of course, further Covid-19 restrictions now affecting the Indoor Season.
Looking further ahead, he can’t hide his sense of anticipation for that trio of top class international events which features Birmingham 2022 sandwiched in between the World Champs in Oregon and the European Champs in Munich.
‘Without question, the summer is going to be really exciting for our elite athletes,’ said David.
‘It will be busy with World Champs and European Champs but as a Scot I am really excited about the Commonwealths. Athletes in Scotland don’t get that vest chance all that often so this is a moment to savour.
‘I really do have high hopes for what we can do in Birmingham. I think it is great that six athletes have been pre-selected after such strong performances at the Olympics and any one of those six could win a medal.
‘The qualifying standards to make the team are pretty hard to be honest so I am confident that whoever makes the team for Scotland then becomes a medal contender come July (although the nature of the Commonwealths is that some events are tougher than others).
‘I am firmly in the camp that our big names fire the imaginations of the next generation and are an inspiration.
‘If we wind back some years, London 2012 and Glasgow 2014 were huge events and I don’t think it is any coincidence that since then the level of Scotland’s best athletes has risen.
‘The improvement is linked to the profile of the big events and big names, I think.
‘As well as Chair, I’m a club coach with Fife AC in Fife and to see the likes of Owen Miller and Nicole Yeargin come back here after the Paralympics and Olympics to come to Pitreavie was brilliant, young athletes were mobbing them and desperate to ask questions and gain insight and motivation.’
Megan Keith wins in Dublin (photo by Mark Shearman)
December featured cross country success with no fewer than a record-equalling seven Scots involved in the GB and NI team competing at the Euro Cross in Ireland – with Megan Keith landing gold in the U20 Women’s race in Dublin.
‘The first thing to say is: Well done Megan Keith and her coach Ross Cairns,’ added David.
‘It was an absolutely fantastic performance to watch – it was a super cross country course, great organisation by the Irish hosts and big crowds
‘There were seven Scots in that GB team and that’s an excellent representation ratio.
‘We saw that presentation at the Olympics and the Paralympics and that rubs off on those across the sport in Scotland.
‘It shows the strength we have and it is not just in track and field.’