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Stirling all set to get big Games weekend underway.

Preview by SHANE FENTON.

A weekend of top quality track and field action is in prospect on the Highland games circuit with the meetings at Stirling on Saturday and Crieff[preview tomorrow] on Sunday, both attracting good entries. And that is despite the Scottish Athletics Senior and Under-17 National Championships taking place over the weekend.

Helmsdale Games also takes place on Saturday.

Following the Games park at Stirling Sports Village resembling a quagmire in places at the close of last years games, work has since taken place to improve the conditions for both competitors and spectators alike. The recent weather however which saw the games at both Strathpeffer and Perth cancelled last week has been of no help.
I was there marking out the track earlier in the week and it very much looks like, the track in places will be testing under foot and tyre for both runners and cyclists.  The Highland Dancing which usually takes place at the bottom end of the arena has been relocated for this year to the adjoining all-weather sports area. This was the area of the track which was  badly churned up last year by the dancers having to continually cross the track to the stage.

Anyone who takes an interest in the New Year Sprint would do well to note down the winner of the 90 metres Handicap at Stirling. Probaby no more than a coincidence but the record books show that 3 of the last 4 winners at New Year-Calum McWilliam,Greg Kelly and Jazmine Tomlinson- all won in the summer at Stirling before going on to win the coveted prize at Musselburgh Racecourse on January 1st. Interesting an East Kilbride AC runner who was in the New Year final that one of his club mates won is down to run on Saturday.

Last years Stirling winner Jax Thoirs - who is Scotland's greatest ever pole vaulter - along with Stacey Downie who also ran last year were the male and female captains for Scotland at Wednesday nights Manchester International meeting.

The Open 90 metres will be run off in three heats, there will also be Open events over 200m, 400m, 800m and 1600m. Long and triple jump competitions are also scheduled.

The Youth events have once again been well supported by the Leithenburn club from the Borders and Ckydesdale AC from the West. The Youths' 90m will be contested over six heats and a final. They will also compete over 200m, 400m and 800m.

Once again there is a good field of cyclists including three female riders, they will contest four events, 800m,1600m,3200m and Deil tak the Hindmost.Under-wheel conditions are likely to be soft,hopefully not as bottomless as last year when at times it was difficult to determine who was who as the riders became more mud splattered as the races went on. As one said'' it all adds to the fun!''

As ever, the heavy events will be popular with the crowds, competitors will do battle in all the traditional disciplines. A full Highland Dancing programme is scheduled, there will also be races for Overseas visitors as well as the kids. A pipe band will also be in attendance to entertain the crowds at various times during the afternoon.

Further North at the Helmsdale & District Highland Games, multiple Scottish champion Charles Fletcher will contest the cycle races. The Games feature a full programme of traditional events including running, cycling, heavy events, Piping, Highland Dancing, Tug of War, Fly Casting as well as novelty and childrens events. The games are also the venue for the SHGA Scottish Hill Race Championship.

Published: 2019-08-15 17:17:00