No medals, but some top-notch performances from Shetland athletes
From Neil Riddell in Åland Photos by Kevin Jones
After the first day’s action in Åland, Team Shetland remained without a medal but able to look back on highly respectable performances across several different sports.
Following a fine 2-2 draw for the footballers against Menorca at lunchtimes (see separate story), the athletics programme kicked into action on Sunday evening and youngster Katie Bristow put in a tremendous run to come ninth and qualify for the women’s 1,500m final, which takes place on Tuesday. That feat was matched by Eilidh Peterson, who secured her place in Tuesday’s women’s long jump final with a jump of 4.84m, comfortably enough to qualify in 11th spot.
Athletics team manager Karen Craigie voiced her delight at an “absolutely fantastic” run from Bristow and a terrific performance from Peterson, both of whom are among the younger members of the team.
Craigie said: “The first day has gone really well, we’ve had such good fun. Everybody’s been really geared up and we’ve had two or three personal bests, especially from Megan Smith in the 100m [she ran a time of 13.24 seconds to finish third in her heat].”
Running in the 200m heats, Gareth Robertson and Lee Williamson posted times of 23.26 and 23.48 seconds respectively but, having both finished third, narrowly missed qualification. Williamson said it had been really hard going given the warm conditions but he is now focusing on his preferred event, the 100m.
One of the biggest cheers of the day at the Wiklöf Holding Arena was reserved for 62-year-old Lerwick postman Bill Adams, competing in his ninth and final games, when he ran in the 10,000m alongside Karl Simpson. Craigie said: “Have you ever heard anything like that? It was absolutely fantastic, the whole crowd – not just the Shetland ones – were cheering for Bill. I think he’s really pleased.”
The long-distance runners were using the event chiefly as a warm-up to Friday’s half marathon but were both satisfied with their runs. Simpson, who despite the conditions is hoping to complete the 13-mile event in under one hour and 20 minutes, said: “I was kind of dreading it today with the heat, but it went fine. It’s difficult to know how to pace yourself, but not running a bad time. I’m pretty pleased given the conditions.”
Attention will now turn to 400m runners Joshua Morrison and Emma Leask, running in the midday heat on Monday, before 2005 gold medal winner Michelle Sandison, who now lives in Glasgow, runs in the women’s 10,000m final in the evening. Craigie said that was a possible chance for Shetland’s athletes to break their medal duck in this games, adding. “We’ll see how she gets on – that possibly might produce something, but I’m not sure if she’s quite on form yet.”
Over at the shooting range, Shetland narrowly missed out on a medal when the shooters came fourth in the sporting team event earlier in the day. The swimmers and archers do not get going until Monday morning.
Elsewhere, the isles’ table tennis players were whitewashed by Guernsey in their first group match of the team event at the Idrottscenter in Godby on Sunday morning. The 7-0 defeat against strong opponents left them propping up Group B before they took to the table against Greenland later in the day, while they face Faroe, the Isle of Man and Rhodes on Monday.
Sean Grogan and Daniel Mainland both lost their singles matches in straight sets, 3-0, while Mainland and Lynda Flaws also lost 3-0 in the mixed doubles. Flaws did win the opening set of her singles match against Dawn Morgan 11-7, but her opponent stormed back to take the match 3-1. The ladies doubles was a walkover because Flaws has no doubles partner.