Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Athletics: Scotland struggles to ninth in Holyrood result

Posted by Admin On 9:57 AM

The big disappointment of Saturday’s BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country at Holyrood Park was the poor form of the Olympic 5000m and 10,000m winner Kenenisa Bekele and Scotland’s Steph Twell who, most bizarrely for her, failed to show up for her post-race press conference.

Twell did have the distraction of collecting the cup for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, who took the overall team competition with 144 points to the 196 of the USA and 215 for the European Select.

But, worryingly, the Aldershot-based runner, who won bronze for Scotland in the 1500 metres in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, appears to be not yet back to the sort of fitness to confront for a place in the London 2012 Olympics following a horrific triple ankle fracture suffered last year.

However, there were a number of tremendously promising performances on the day from young Scots who may not be quite ready for London but could be demanding for places in Glasgow 2014.

Twell started well in the senior women’s 6k race and was in the most important four for the first of the three laps. But when European champion Fionnuala Britton of Ireland determined to open up at the start of the second, which was 20 seconds faster than the first, Twell was unable to respond and drop back, ultimately finishing ninth.

“It was a poor run,” said her coach Mick Woods, who refused to believe that the heavy, wet ground had been a factor. “It was wet in Belgium and she ran much well there,” he added, referring to a race she had before Christmas.

By difference, Twell’s 2010 Delhi team-mate Freya Murray, who is prepare for her first marathon in London in April, came through strongly and for a time held third place before vanishing slightly to fifth.

Both Twell and Murray are due to leave tomorrow for a month’s altitude training in Kenya along with Glasgow’s Beth Potter, who with no trouble won the women’s Inter-District race yesterday. “I was disappointed not to hold on to third but overall I’m pleased,” said Murray, who will defend her Scottish cross country title in Falkirk next month before heading for Boulder, Colorado, for another stint of altitude training under the management of her coach Steve Jones before her London debut.

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