Callum Hawkins in cross country action at Cumbernauld (photo by Bobby Gavin)
Athletics in Scotland is well represented within GB and NI at the Olympics – with that 12-strong cohort all set for action in Japan.
It is a huge credit to clubs that these athletes have been developed with many volunteers and coaches – and Officials helping making events happen – all involved over many years.
We often highlight clubs because that is the start of the pathway for so many of our elite athletes.
One important aspect of recent weeks has been to see photos emerge of the early years of our Olympians – watching them develop over the years is a huge boost to so many folk in the sport.
Looking at the ‘breakdown’ of the #TokyoTwelve, two clubs are very well-represented:
*Three from Edinburgh AC – Jake Wightman and Josh Kerr in 1500m; Beth Dobbin in 200m and 4x100m Relay squad
*Three from Kilbarchan AAC – Callum Hawkins and Steph Twell in marathon; Jemma Reekie in 800m
Jemma in action at a Scottish Indoor Champs back in 2017 (photo by Bobby Gavin)
John Rodger is Finance Convenor and long-time stalwart with Kilbarchan AAC.
John is also on the Board at scottishathletics and spoke of the club’s real sense of pride at being represented in Japan by a trio of athletes as well as marathon coach, Robert Hawkins.
‘It’s very exciting for athletics in Scotland to be so well represented in terms of the GB and NI team for the Olympics – to get into double figures is very rare and it reflects well on coaches and clubs,’ said John.
‘At Kilbarchan AAC we are really proud that three of the team are from our club.
‘This is the very pinnacle of our sport, on the global stage, yet Kilbarchan AAC will be well represented through Callum Hawkins and Steph Twell in the marathon and Jemma Reekie in the Women’s 800m.
‘Robert Hawkins is also going to be with the British team in a staff role, leading the support for the marathon athletes, which of course includes Callum and Steph.
‘It’s a real boost to us as a club to have that level of involvement in a huge global sporting event.
‘Callum has been around the club for fully 20 years and came in for a big slice of that with his elder brothers, with Derek also an Olympian in 2016.
‘Callum raced in Rio and pulled off a superb top 10 finish and now he is back at his second Olympics – again a very significant achievement in Scottish athletics.
‘If you look back at results records we can find him racing at U13 level for Kilbarchan as long ago as 2004.
It is a similar story with Jemma Reekie who arrived at the age of eight or nine via cross country running at her primary school. Jemma is always pleased to represent the club and there’s no doubt she is a fantastic role model for young athletes, male or female, and indeed Seniors.
‘in the past couple of years, despite Covid-19 restrictions on events, she has put together a series of very impressive performances.
‘Steph Twell’s connection with the club is different. She’s an English-based athlete throughout her career but her mother is from Paisley and she got to know the Hawkins family well.
‘Steph has been pleased to wear the Kilbarchan AAC vest and won the Scottish National XC in those colours.
‘We wish all three Kilbarchan AAC athletes, and all the Scots in the GB team, all the very best for the Olympics and say good luck to their coaches. And we hope it goes well for Robert with the marathon team.’