Legacy is happening right here, right now in athletics in Scotland with a huge entry now received for the scottishathletics Age Group Champs.
Aberdeen Sports Village is the venue for the two-day event for athletes from U13 to U20 level – with almost 1100 having put their names forward.
That’s about 25 percent of the entire eligible membership entering the National Champs for 2014 to compete with the Commonwealth Games credited as a massive catalyst effect.
scottishathletics urged the teenagers to ‘Get out strong, Commit’ – to borrow a mantra from Hampden silver medallist Lynsey Sharp – with online entries having been taken during the Games. The figure of 1072 athletes tops last year’s tally by around 200.
Here’s the breakdown on the numbers and age groups:
U13 – 223 athletes
U15 – 325 athletes
U17 – 327 athletes
U20 – 197 athletes
‘We are absolutely thrilled with the response by clubs across the length and breadth of Scotland for our Age Group Champs with the number of athletes entered up by about 20 percent on 2013,’ said scottishathletics chief executive Nigel Holl.
‘For quite some time now we have been talking positively about the legacy already delivered ahead of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. We were confident in saying that, because we have been able to admire and respect the work done by our 140 athletics clubs.
‘It is our member clubs across Scotland who deserve that recognition and credit. The coaches prepare the athletes day in day out, week in week out. Without that club and coach support, this legacy would not be feasible. I want to thank everyone who has entered – it is great to see that desire to compete.
‘We’ve seen the double catalyst of the London Olympics and now Glasgow 2014 being held and the impact is there for all to see.
‘I’m hugely encouraged by so many youngsters in the teenage brackets committing to head to Aberdeen on August 23/24 and seeking to make their mark and become the next Eilidh Child, Chris O’Hare or Lynsey Sharp. Role models like Libby Clegg, Lynsey and Eilidh are vital to us.
‘We held the Age Groups in Aberdeen last year very successfully but this year were due to go to Grangemouth, which of course is more centrally located geographically.
‘But we had to change that arrangement when it became clear the track at Grangemouth was to be replaced this summer with the surfaces from Hampden and Lesser Hampden – with Crownpoint in Glasgow also being relaid. So that is another, physical legacy of the Games – improvements to facilities.
‘Our Scottish Senior champs are this weekend – with more than 300 athletes entered – and we are looking forward to returning to the Ayrshire Athletics Arena. Our Team Scotland athletes were very well looked after there during the countdown to Glasgow 2014. The support from East Ayrshire Leisure is superb.
‘But for them the real ‘legacy deal’ follows in Aberdeen over the following weekend. Again, the Sports Village has proved itself as an excellent venue.
‘Those numbers are both inspiring and to be honest more than slightly intimidating! Intimidating, because we need to ensure a tremendous experience for every athlete and we will strive to deliver exactly that.
‘For me one of the ‘overlooked’ key groups from the Commonwealth Games was the Officials – in all sports – whose contribution was slightly lost in the impact by Clydesiders.
‘Competitions can’t run without excellent officials, and at Hampden Park, we had a very Scottish dominant team of officials who did a great job!
‘Two weeks later, they will deliver again at Kilmarnock, and then cope with those huge numbers in Aberdeen. We thank them in advance . . . and we also know they will be inspired by seeing this legacy come to life.
‘So, bring on Kilmarnock and Aberdeen. I look to see athletes of all ages ‘perform when it counts’ for them – taking the lead from our top performers for Team Scotland only days ago.
‘That doesn’t mean everyone winning – that’s not possible. It does mean that the National Championships is where athletes should be prepared to perform at their best, or set new bests, and use it as a springboard to further development, hard work, and ultimately senior success.’
* Watch Nigel Holl on our YouTube channel talking about legacy issues just before the Commonwealth Games
* We will announce winners of autographed PB magazines next week. All those entered will be put into a draw. Thanks to all who entered for the Age Group Champs.