Winter training pays dividends as athletes gain Scottish rankings

Karen Bannister leaps over the bar during the high jump. Photo:Kevin Jones

Shetlands athletes are beginning to show the benefits of a hard winter’s training with a number of perform­ances that place high in the 2009 Scottish rankings.

The weather wasn’t ideal for the second HIPPO (Highlands and Islands Performance Participation Opportunity) athletic competition at the Clickimin on Sunday. A strong cross wind and occasional showers made conditions difficult in all events. Despite this there were some fantastic achievements on both a personal and national level.

The participation of a number of athletes from Orkney brought a more competitive feel to some of the events and it was great to see a 10,000 metres race alongside the more usual HIPPO fare. Karl Simpson won this in a creditable time of 36:27 minutes, given the severity of the headwind in the final bend. Russell Gair and Bill Adams worked together for most of the race, Gair taking second place in the sprint for the line.

Shetland’s javelin throwers con­tinue to impress. Jordan Morrison threw a personal best of 44.03m in the under-17 event, putting him at the top of the 2009 Scottish list, Rory Goodlad’s PB of 32.13m moved him to third in this years under-15 Scottish rankings while in the under-17 women’s event Inga Woods increased her PB to 28.21m to move into this year’s Scottish top 10. In the under-13 girls’ event Claire Johnston was not able to improve on her PB but is still ranked third in Scotland.

The other throwers made light of the conditions, Sophie Kelman’s 28.80m in the hammer was not a PB but places her sixth on the Scottish list, a position matched by Maurice Williamson in the men’s under-20 category with a 11.49m shot putt. Maurice also threw 44.70m in the hammer to cement his Scottish third position, while Jack Howarth also threw a PB of 28.34m in the under-20 men’s hammer.

In the under-17 women’s high jump Sophie May Leyland cleared a PB of 1.48m in a closely fought contest with Karen Bannister.

The triple jumpers were the only group that suffered a really heavy shower and after some very strong jumping in the first three rounds, particularly from Sean Maver and Maurice Williamson, all the per­form­ances slipped back as the rain was driven in on the cold northerly wind.

The rain cleared before the long jumpers made their appearance where Allie Elphinstone reached a new PB of 4.62m. Cara Steven, Tahnae MacLennan and Sophie Black jumped well in the under- 11 girls’ group, finishing first, second and third respectively, Holly King and James Bell were the clear winners in the under- 13 girls and under-11 boys’ categories while Scott Riise nar­rowly beat Neil Johnson in the under-13 boys.

All the middle distance races were severely impacted by the wind. Even the more mature athletes struggled to get near their best in the poor conditions, Joshua Morrison finishing over six seconds outside his best time on the 800m.

The various sprint events were not much affected by the wind, with seven competitors in the men’s 100m and five in the 200m making for very exciting racing. Lee Williamson won both events despite false starting in each one. Haydn Thomason and Scott Lawson could not be separated by the clock in the 100m, Scott being given second place after much discussion by the timekeepers. Thomas Newton came from behind to pip Scott Lawson for second place in a closely-fought 200m.

Personal bests were achieved in the 100m by: Lee Williamson (under-23 men) 11.2; Haydn Thomason (under-17 men) 11.6; Tom Jamieson (under-15 boys) 12.6; Caitlin Watt (under-17 women) 13.5; and Megan Smith (under-17 women) 13.1. Haydn’s time putting him into third place on the Scottish rankings while Megan’s time scraped her into the Scottish top 20.

In the 200m Tom and Megan both achieved PBs with 27.7 and 27.5 respectively. The final bend of the 400m was straight into the wind yet despite this Haydn Thomason achieved another PB in 54.2, as did Alan Williamson with a time of 55.5.

A spokesman said the club would like to thank the volunteers who helped on the day, particularly the unsung heroes who managed the registration and co-ordinated the events.

A complete list of results can be found at


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