With one Glasgow 2014 qualifying standard already under her belt, Eilish McColgan believes momentum for the Commonwealth Games is building
Steeplechaser Eilish McColgan was one of many Scottish athletes to have secured a qualifying standard for Glasgow 2014 this weekend and she took the opportunity to voice how important she believes it is that the standards set were ‘fair’ and ‘reasonable’.
A total of 14 Scottish qualifying standards for next year’s Commonwealth Games were achieved by athletes over the past weekend. Although her focus is the 3000m steeplechase, McColgan dipped under the 4:10 required with 4:09.67 in the 1500m at Sunday’s Loughborough International, while team-mates Eilidh Child and Mark Dry were also among those to hit the marks required in the 400m hurdles and hammer throw respectively.
“The standards were set in Scotland at times and distances that were reasonable,” said the 22-year-old, who is set to compete in her first 3000m steeplechase event since last August at Saturday’s adidas Grand Prix in New York.
England’s Athletics’ Commonwealth selection standards caused furore when they were released in March. At the time the national governing body defended what were deemed by many to be overly ambitious marks, explaining how the criteria reflects the ambition of creating a team capable of securing the highest possible number of top eight places.
But McColgan, daughter of former world and Commonwealth 10,000m champion Liz, voiced how to her, the marks seemed ‘unfair’.
“There has been quite a lot of comment about English standards and some of them are out of reach of people and look unfair,” she said.
“In Scotland, we do seem to have set ones that are attainable if people are at a certain level and I do believe that’s the way it should be. Standards should be created in such a way that you can attain them – if you show a level of improvement. There will be gaps in certain parts of it but I still think they are completely fair.”
She used the event in which she is the UK champion as an example. “In the steeplechase, at 10 minutes for the qualification there’s myself, Emily Stewart and Lennie Waite who are well capable of that and, I keep saying this, there could and should be a few more Scottish girls who should feel they can make that time.
“Those on the outskirts of that time have to chase it and that is the same across all the disciplines.”
With 14 months to go until the Games, McColgan believes momentum is building, but is careful to remember that a lot can happen in just over a year. “It is important for everyone to bear in mind that it is only May 2013,” she said. “It is there on the horizon, yes, but there’s a summer season and an indoor season and into 2014 left for those with hopes of qualifying for Team Scotland.”
Having returned from a career-threatening injury to compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games, McColgan now feels ready to reap the benefits of having a full winter of training behind her.
“I think the big difference is I have had a full winter without interruptions,” she said.
“In 2011, I was leading the university life and maybe not fully focused. Then, in 2012, I was basically still rehabbing and coming back from the foot injury I suffered at the back end of the previous season. This time I have done all the hard work and done altitude training and hopefully it will pay off.”