Isla pedals to top five finish

Isla Short (picture by Alwyn Johnston).
Isla Short (picture by Alwyn Johnston).

Mountain biker Isla Short scored a magnificent fifth-place finish on Thursday in the women’s cross country section at her first ever Commonwealth Games.

The 21-year-old, from Peebles, shone beyond her 60th place (UCI) and eight-placed (race) rankings to finish in the first five among a highly competitive field.

She crossed the line +3:32 behind race-winning top seed and world number five Annie Last, of England, completing the six-lap 27km course in 1:21:34.

Isla said: “I knew I was capable of the ride I put in. Everything came together at the right time.

“I was trying not to think about being in a medal position when I was in third – I was trying desperately to hold it but the older girls are quicker on the descent. But I did all I could, so I am happy.”

Islad added she had taken confidence from knowing she could perform so well against such a high-quality field.

“I have kind of known for a while I can compete against these girls but it’s not really come together. I’ve been so focused over the last few months coming into this, because I really wanted to pull it off, so I am really happy.”

“This is the start – it feels like first game. I have been able to enjoy it and be really focused, so I am really, really proud of that.”

Grant Ferguson, also of Peebles, followed Isla in the men’s gruelling 32.2km course.

Unfortunately, the world ranked number 39 was not able to improve on his fifth-place finish at Glasgow 2014, coming in ninth, +4:53 behind 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medal-winning New Zealander, Samuel Gaze.