Island games: 2009 gold medallist Leask defends her 800m title and McLean wins cycling gold

Western Isles runner Eilidh Mackenzie shoves Shetland's Emma Leask in the home straight of their 800m race.

Shetland athlete Emma Leask was awarded the gold medal for the 800m at the island games in the Isle of Wight last night after the runner who narrowly won the race was disqualified for shoving her in the home straight (see here for more pictures).

After a competitive first 600m Emma, who won gold in the same race at the 2009 island games, and Eilidh Mackenzie from the Western Isles took control and went into the last 200m side by side. As they approached the finish line Eilidh put out an arm and knocked Emma to one side. Eilidh made it over the line a fraction of a second ahead of Emma.

The judges later disqualified Eilidh for her infringement. Winner of the bronze was former Shetland games medallist Claire Wilson, now running for Jersey. Ironically, Emma and Claire had clashed in their heat.

Meanwhile cyclist Christine McLean won gold for Shetland in the women’s individual time trial yesterday.

Despite her achievement there was no rest for Christine as The Shetland Times caught up with her this morning. When her mobile rang she was on her bike “getting some miles in”!

Winning gold has been a long-standing target since her games debut in Rhodes four years ago, especially after the disappointment of the absence of cycling in Åland in 2009.
She said she was feeling a bit tired at the start of the race but that quickly disappeared after she got going.

“Having ridden the road race my legs were not the freshest, but as soon as I got on the time trial bike I felt good and I was going well. I caught the rider ahead of me very quickly.

“The rest of the team were on the road supporting me which was a huge boost.

“Towards the finish I saw the number two from Guernsey and as soon as I saw her that gave me the boost I needed to put on a spurt and get ahead of her.

“I knew I was in with a chance of a medal but not the gold. Ever since Rhodes I have wanted this. I was so disappointed there was no cycling in Åland.

“I have wanted to do this for four years. It’s just wonderful. There were a few tears but I’m very happy.”

McLean’s victory was all the more impressive as at the age of 50 she was the oldest competitor in the race and she is still recovering from a broken arm suffered six weeks ago.

The secret to her success? “I feel better than when I was 18!”

Following on from the success of the swimmers, Emma’s fellow athlete Inga Woods and the archery team, the most recent gold medal wins brought Shetland’s medal tally to 14, four more than in Åland, and put Shetland seventh in the medal table, seven places higher than in 2009.

For more pictures of the 800m race, see here.

And for a video, see here.


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