18th October 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Sporting Chance – Gareth Robertson

, by , in Sport

Last week’s overall junior inter-county victory over Orkney contained many outstanding individual performances. One of those who made their mark was GARETH ROBERTSON from Burra, joint captain of the athletics team. He won both the 100 and 200 metres individual sprints, and anchored the 4×100 metres team home in their record-breaking victory.

My first taste of action was at . . .
The Gilbert Bain Hospital, Lerwick, on 20th February, 1990.

I mainly got into athletics because . . .
I always enjoyed sports as a youngster and after breaking a school sprint record in the second year my older sister Kristan, who went to athletics at the time, and my mam encouraged me to go along to one of the sessions.

A big influence was . . .
Martin Leyland, our sprints coach at athletics. He encouraged me right from the start to stick in and was very good at passing his knowledge and experience on. Also the rest of the coaches are brilliant and give up so much of their time to train all of us.

As a youngster my sporting heroes were . . .
I didn’t pay too much attention to famous sporting people when I was younger. I would prefer to try the sport as opposed to watching it on television. But Ally McCoist springs to mind – the first person to have on the back of my Rangers strip!

Currently I most admire . . .
There are a bunch of talented athletes at our club with a few having been chosen to represent Scotland, for example Faye Richardson and Claire Wilson. I suppose Martin could get his name in here for sticking in over the years motivating all of us, helping everyone to be the best they can. He’s still nippy for an older guy, keeping up with us at training.

At a higher level there’s the like of athletes Asafa Powell and Kelly Holmes, footballers Barry Ferguson and Kolo Toure, and football managers Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, to name but a few.

My best achievements have been . . .
I think being chosen to represent Shetland in the island games in 2005 is quite high up.

Being joint captain with Victoria Duthie for the junior inter-county athletics team which won last week with almost maximum points was brilliant. Along with winning both the sprints after my knee operation last year it was an amazing feeling. We’re still waiting to hear if our team achieved a record score.

The best thing about athletics is . . .
There’s a lot! All the people and coaches who turn up for a start. We have a good laugh as well as the training side of things. The trips south are always brilliant fun and an amazing experience competing against the best in the country (which isn’t such fun sometimes).

When the weather is fine in the summer and everyone is out on the track or in the field.
The team events such as the 4×100 metres relay are amazing. There is a lot of teamwork involved and it’s brilliant when it all comes together.

We have quite a competitive sprint group with Lee Williamson, Stuart Donald, Scott Lawson and Shaun Manson which is really good as we all push each other in training and try not to come last.

And the worst thing is . . .
Outdoor training in the winter when it’s a howling gale and there are monsoon type rains, which isn’t too rare for Shetland. When we have to do long-distance training, which in my opinion is anything over 200 metres.

Abiding memories were . . .
My first ever competition south, in Grangemouth, is one that sticks in the mind. I was all set and ready for my first run. I was extremely nervous standing with the other athletes looking into the stands where all the spectators were seated. I remember a few people telling me to dip at the finish line to improve my time. All the excitement and adrenaline didn’t help when I took their advice but over dipped and ended up falling flat on my face in front of everyone at the line.

Another thing I will never forget is when our men’s relay team at the island games in 2005 were disqualified. It was a shame as we’d made third place in the final.

A way of improving athletics would be . . .
In Shetland I reckon an indoor track wouldn’t go a miss.

More funding for trips down south, and for national coaches to be able to come up here.

My ambitions are to . . .
Keep up my athletics wherever I go in the hope of representing Shetland in the island games and if I’m lucky come away with a medal. I would like do a bit of travelling, buy a house and own a Ferrari.

My hobbies apart from athletics are . . .
I do other sports such as football and badminton but I’ve not done them for a while due to an ankle break followed by a ruptured cruciate. I play the guitar and enjoy driving about in the car. The odd fishing trip and walk with the air rifle are good as well.

Musically I like to listen to . . .
There’s too much to mention as I have a very mixed taste I’ll listen to most genres from country to heavy metal.

I like to read . . .
I’ve only really read a few books but a look through the odd gun or car magazine and The Shetland Times on a Friday.

And watch . . .
There’s quite a lot – Eastenders being the favourite (ha ha). Top Gear, Bear Grylls, South Park, Family Guy, The Simpsons, Lost, Father Ted.

The best films I’ve seen are . . .
It has to be the Rocky films. Number four is my favourite.

My favourite actors/actresses . . .
Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rowan Atkinson and Tom Hanks.

My favourite food and drink is . . .
Anything as long as it’s not spicy. My favourites are fish, lasagne and the odd Chinese takeaway.

The best places I have visited are . . .
Australia, Spain and Portugal. Norway was nice but I can’t remember too much about it as I was only five.

If I could live anywhere in the world other than Shetland it would be . . .
Australia, New Zealand or maybe somewhere in the Scottish countryside.

My pet hates are . . .
Wind; rain; being rushed; being late; losing things; early mornings.

The living person(s) I most admire are . . .
My “auld” folk.

Because . . .
They encourage and support me in various sports. They have had to run around after me, running me here and there, etc.

The five people I would invite to my dream dinner party are . . .
The list is too long to choose from.

Anything to add . . .
When I made the speech after the junior-county athletics the nerves must have got the better of me and I forgot to thank the Shetland team. So thank you and well done to everyone who was involved. And well done to everyone else for helping to bring the Stuart Cup back.