The double Olympic gold medallist is guest of honour for this year’s Scottish athlete of the year awards
British track legend Dame Kelly Holmes believes the short-list for the FPSG Scottish athlete of the year award could easily have reached double figures.
The double Olympic champion, who won 800m and 1500m gold in Athens in 2004, is guest of honour for this year’s awards ceremony in Glasgow on November 3.
Five athletes are in contention for the main award, with a trio of track medallists – Eilidh Doyle, Laura Muir and Jake Wightman – joined by hill runner Charlotte Morgan, who won the world long distance hill running title, and Robbie Simpson, who claimed Commonwealth marathon bronze.
Holmes will help present the top award on November 3 and expressed her relief at not having been involved in the selection process.
“I am really looking forward to coming to Glasgow in November for the FPSG annual awards and helping to present the FPSG athlete of the year trophy,” she told Scottish Athletics.
“It has been such a superb year for so many Scottish athletes – across various events – that the one thing I am glad I haven’t been involved in has been choosing the short-lists!
“As you can see, it is down to five names now and I think any athletics fan in Scotland or beyond looking at it right away will spot how difficult it has been. When you add in other athletes who won medals or broke national records then maybe the short-list could have gone right up to eight to 10 athletes and still been very credible indeed.
“All five of these are great nominations and, as I said, I can see how tough it has been for the awards panel to come up with a short-list. And there’s a lot of talent there, too, on the age-group awards and fine performers in the masters and para categories, as well.”
Zoey Clark, Maria Lyle, Mark Dry and Eilish McColgan won international track and field medals this year at the World Indoors, Commonwealths or Europeans as well as Doyle, Muir and Wightman, while Beth Dobbin and Chris O’Hare smashed Scottish outdoor records at 100m and 1500m respectively.
Muir first broke Holmes’ British 1500m record in 2016 and on the Scot’s success in 2018, Holmes said: “Laura Muir has had a cracking year and that was confirmed by a No.1 ranking for 2018 in the 1500m by the IAAF, which is a great achievement.
“The World Indoors in Birmingham in early March really set her up. To win two medals in three days with a bronze in the 3000m followed by a silver in the 1500m was a great achievement – and especially when snow and ice made travelling so difficult in Britain that week!
“I think those medals boosted her confidence even more for the European Championships in Berlin and she dominated that 1500m final to win well. To then go and win the Diamond League final really was the icing on the cake for the season and again she came up with a special performance that night in Brussels to win from the front – the way she loves.
“Laura has already taken a couple of my British records but I will try not to hold that against her!”
The FPSG para athlete of the year short-list reflects the medal success of Scottish race runners at the European Championships with nominations for Hannah Dines and Gavin Drysdale, with the other two contenders being Lyle and marathon runner Derek Rae.
Callum Hawkins won the athlete of the year award in 2017, with Muir, Doyle and Lynsey Sharp having dominated the preceding half-dozen years.
FPSG awards short-lists
FPSG athlete of the year:
Eilidh Doyle; Charlotte Morgan; Laura Muir; Robbie Simpson; Jake Wightman
U20 athlete of the year:
Anna Macfadyen; Alisha Rees; Erin Wallace
U17 athlete of the year:
Scott Brindley; Kane Elliott; Ellie O’Hara; Keira Waddell
Masters athlete of the year:
Zara Asante; Fiona Matheson; Charlotte Morgan; Alastair Walker
FPSG para athlete of the year:
Hannah Dines; Gavin Drysdale; Maria Lyle; Derek Rae