Borders athletes among the District’s best

Grace McWhinnie and Finn Douglas.
Grace McWhinnie and Finn Douglas.

Four medals and a lot of lifetime bests added up to a great weekend for a quartet of TLJT Athletics Club members who tackled the District Championships at Grangemouth.

On Saturday, Grace McWhinnie was first up in the girls’ U13 long jump, seeded number 10 on the start list.

Elli O'Hara (picture by Gary Leek)

Elli O'Hara (picture by Gary Leek)

From her six jumps, she achieved a lifetime best on three occasions to take the gold medal.

Grace has shown herself over the last couple of years to be a young athlete of great potential and, on Saturday, she demonstrated once again her range of different skills, as she also beat her PB on two further occasions in heat and final of the 100m sprint.

Although her final run appeared to falter at the start, she came through to a strong finish. She ended in the minor placings but still beat her time from the preliminaries.

Finn Douglas, of Lilliesleaf, was competing in the U17 men’s 100m, having only ascended to U17 this year, but showed great maturity with a very comfortable heat win.

He followed up with a blistering start in the final to finish a very credible second to Shaun Stewart, currently ranked third in the UK.

A finish in 11.42 seconds was another lifetime best for Finn, who turned out again on Sunday to compete in the 200m. He broke his 200m lifetime best in both heat and final to finish runner-up in 23.60 to take his tally to two silver medals.

Steve Illand performed well in the 100m senior section and can be well pleased with his 11.43, taking the first place in the B final as he now gets back to full fitness following a recent back injury.

Cameron Tindle competed under the new format which combined east, west and north districts for senior and U20 athletes, designed to give the athletes at this level a higher stage of competition.

Cameron was using the weekend to give him two competitive races before he runs his first international event of the season.

He finished in the silver medal position in a disappointing 22.43 seconds. This represented around a second out from where he and his coach were expecting.

A silver medal was little consolation as he prepares for what will be a much higher level of competition next weekend at Loughborough.

Coach Bruce Scott said on the club’s Facebook page: “There were top performances from both Grace McWhinnie and Finn Douglas. The statistics are good for club morale, with one gold and three silvers. Cameron Tindle, on the other hand, was very disappointed with his performance and could shed no light on why he came nowhere near his current form. I expect Cameron, who has been performing well in training, will put this behind him and will be eager to prove himself next weekend on the big stage.”

A host of other Borders athletes were among the winners or, at least, performed very well at Grangemouth.

Peebles High School pupil Ellie O’Hara, of Cardrona, began her outdoor season with victory in the U17s long jump with a distance of 5.82 metres, succeeding it with 11.70 metres to win the U17s triple jump, and then winning the U17s 100 metres.

Peebles leaper Kate Harvie won the U15s triple jump before taking bronze in the long jump.

Adam Leighton of Galashiels won the U17s high jump category, for Lasswade.

Gala Harrier Ewan Purves collected a couple of fourth places in U17s 200 and 400 metres.

Imogen Lewis from Peebles claimed two silver medals in the U17s 300m and 300 metres hurdles.

Others to reach their respective finals included Gregor Collins, Anna Fairclough, Ewan Christie, Isla Paterson and Zico Field (all Gala Harriers) and Kieran Fulton (Moorfoot Runners).