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Despite a sprinkling of heavy showers the crowds once again made their way to Little Dunkeld for the 132nd Gathering of the Birnam Highland Games. There was good entries for all the track and field events including 12 competitors in the combined Open and Perthshire heavy events competition. On a rain softened track, cyclist Craig Hardie was the rider in form, winning three of the four races on the card and finishing runner up in the other. His wins came in the 800 metres, 1600 metres and Deil tak the Hindmost and he chased home James Melville,Dumbarton for 2nd place in the 3200 metres.

The Fifer's performances brought him further reward when at the close of proceedings he was awarded 'The Sword of Birnam' after being named as the track 'Athlete of the Day'.

Stephen Park, Edinburgh produced a polished performance to claim the 90 metres handicap, Park, whose last highland games sprint success came at Markinch 12 years ago snapped the tape in 9.73 seconds to edge out 2 former New Year Sprint winners Tommy Finkle TLJT and David Lauder, Hawick.

There was better fortune for 2012 New Year winner Graeme Lister,Dalgety Bay who raced to victory in the 200 metres handicap, he was made to run all the way to the line however to snare front markers Vikki Stephen, Dunfermline Track & Field Club and the veteran Tam Bradley,Leith in 22.41s.

Michael Burns,Pitreavie AC showed no ill-effects of having taken part in the World Haggis Eating Championship by turning in a fine run to win the 400 metres in 52,36s, following him over the line in 2nd and 3rd was Craig Robertson,Pitreavie AC and Wallace McGown,Sauchie. The latter who is in a fine vein of form at present chalked up another win with victory in the 800 metres handicap in 2:05.06, Craig Bell,Forfar and the ever consistent Willie Bates,Tullibody filled the minor berths.

One of the biggest cheers of the day was reserved for the veteran Sam Bates,Tullibody in the 1600 metres handicap. Following a second place finish 48 hours prior at Oban, the 68 year old went one better at Little Dunkeld as he stayed on determindly in the yielding conditions to hold off the challenge of his Oban conqueror Dean Whiteford,Innerleithen with John Thomson,Glenrothes in 3rd.

Dundee Hawkhill's Rory Muir made it two wins in three days in scratch 800 metres events, he followed up his Oban win by getting the better of Craig Robertson in the home straight before breaking the tape in 2:05.42. with Michael Burns in 3rd.

The 100 yards scratch race was won by recent Bridge of Allan sprint winner Ryan Houten,Cardrona who stopped the clock at 10.54 seconds as he came home ahead of Craig Gillan,TLJT and Connor Gillon,Kelso.

There was a TLJT 1-2-3 in the Youths 100 yards championship with Angus Bryce wining from Laura Munro and Gary Goodfellow.
The veterans 90 metres was won by Ron Sutherland,Innerleithen.

The Youth's 90 metres handicap was won by frontmarker Abbie Munro,TLJT who held on for victory from Jake Houten,Cardrona and Gary Goodfellow in 10.67 seconds. The 1 and 2 positions were reversed in the 200 metres with Houten emerging a clear winner from Munro with Angus Bryce in third.

Houten was again in the prizes with a 2nd place in the Youth's 800 metres behind Sean Bates,Tullibody who crossed the finish line in 4:54.16 with Bailey Todd,Kelso in 3rd. The Youth's 1600 metres saw Steven Bates became the third different winner from the Bates family on the day, crossing the finish line in 4:54.16 ahead of Sean Bates and Bailey Todd.

The heavy event competition was dominated by the trio of Lorne Colthart, Sebastien and Lukasz Wenta. Lorne won both the 16lb and 22lb hammer contests, Sebastien the 22lb shot and Lukasz the 16lb shot and the 56lb weight over the bar with a new ground record of 16 feet. Lukasz and Sebastien tied the Caber with Lorne third.

The World Haggis Eating Championship was won for the 4th time in the last 5 years by athlete Lee Goodfellow from Earlston. His win this year was also a new record.

Published: 2015-08-29 22:18:45