Aug 17 2012 By Gordon Parks
Hampden Image 1
THIS is how Hampden will look two years from now when the national football stadium stages track and field events after a makeover.
And with the UK government looking at tax breaks to persuade the big stars to compete, Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games could well see blue chip athletes such as Usain Bolt taking part to complement the stunning surroundings.
The 2014 event, coming so soon after London 2012, is already being seen by many as the perfect trigger for more participation and better performances by Scots.
There were five Scottish women involved in track and field in London – with Freya Murray the top Brit in the marathon while Lee McConnell, Lynsey Sharp and Eilidh Child each made the semi-finals of their individual events. Eilish McColgan, UK champion at 21, dropped out after her 3000m steeplechase heat.
Nigel Holl, chief executive of Scottish Athletics, is hoping for an “Olympic bounce” and wants those within track and field to be ready for a flood of fresh interest.
Holl said: “The next two years are very important as we head towards the Commonwealth Games.
“We started some time ago with our development programme entitled Club Legacy 2014, which has included the appointment of club together officers at 17 clubs in Scotland.
“They are part-time people working to attract more members and volunteers and coaches into athletics. We’ve already seen it start to work in the first few months.
“I’m encouraged about the impact post-London 2012. We could not have hoped for more in terms of firing the imagination of youngsters and that’s huge for the sport in Scotland and
beyond. But we must build on that and with hard work I’m certain we can. Three main priorities would be development and participation, more competition and improved elite performance.”
West of Scotland clubs Giffnock North, Shettleston Harriers and Inverclyde have been staging Legacy events. See more at www.scottishathletics.org.uk