Pascal Martinot Lagarde, Eilidh Doyle, Sven Arne Hansen, Rachel Miller, Jakub Ingebrigtsen, photo by European Athletics/Getty Images
So, here’s the truth on Stuart Weir. I thought the guy was Scottish for several years, and used to write about him as Scottish. Stuart, being the nice guy he is, had to gently remind me several times that he was NOT Scottish. But, truth is, Stuart writes what he wants. I like his approach, whether it be on hagis, or about who is running the European Indoors. For three days in Glasgow, you will be entertained, and as my dear late mother, Marilu, would say, and you will enjoy it.
Who is hosting the 2019 European Indoor Championships?
The answer is obvious. Great Britain is host nation. But there is an alternative view. Glasgow is in Scotland. It is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but it maintains a separate identity. In soccer and rugby, to name but two sports Scotland competes as a separate country. A Scottish track and field athlete will compete for GB at the Olympics but for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games.
In 2014 there was a referendum on the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” 55% voted No and 45% Yes. If the referendum were to be held tomorrow, many feel it would go the other way.
At the main press conference, Joe FitzPatrick, Scottish Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing did not miss the opportunity to highlight this aspect, saying: “As Scotland’s Sports Minister, I am particularly proud that a record nine Scottish athletes have been selected to compete. This should give something special for the local supporters to cheer on.”
Appropriately the British captain is a Scot, Guy Learmonth. He said: “There’s something very special about a home crowd and for nine of us it feels even more like home. I love racing here, I love racing in the UK, I love racing in Scotland, so I am just going to soak it all in and embrace it.” Zoe Clark added: “”Scotland’s not a big country so to have such a strong fraction of the team is amazing. It’s so impressive.”
Eilidh Doyle admitted that it was the Scottish dimension that helped make her decision to compete: “I had been so busy last year with the indoors and the Commonwealths that we thought ‘should we maybe miss indoors? But then when you know it is in Glasgow, you think ‘no I can’t miss that!”
And event ambassador, Laura Muir, whose veterinary degree is from Glasgow University, admitted that the venue had affected her plans: “I don’t want to go out there and do a mediocre performance. I want to go out there and smash it. It is Glasgow of all places. If it was somewhere else, I don’t know if we would have done the double [1500 and 3000] but it is such a big opportunity for me.”
The nine Scots are:
Andy Butchart – 3000m
Zoey Clark – 400m and 4x400m relay
Eilidh Doyle – 400m and 4x400m relay
Neil Gourley – 1500m
Guy Learmonth – 800m
Eilish McColgan – 3000m
Laura Muir – 1500m & 3000m
Chris O’Hare – 3000m
Jemma Reekie – 1500m