Anticipation ahead of athletics competition at the Commonwealth Games has reached fever pitch, with Australia’s 98-strong contingent in the midst of final preparations before the sound of the gun at the men’s and women’s marathon sees a start to seven days of action here in Glasgow (SCO).
Finally delivering an opportunity for our best to don the green and gold after months of hard preparation, the team will perform strongly in the eyes of Head Coach Eric Hollingsworth, who believes we’ll be a contender across the course of the jam-packed timetable.
“We’ll do very well here. We have a good balance between youth and experienced champions and, while we don’t want to put too much pressure on our young people in an environment they are not used to, there are plenty who can produce a good haul of medals,” Hollingsworth said.
Having witnessed preparation first hand across the course of the Australian domestic and the international season, as well as at the Athletics Team Camp for the Commonwealth Games in Gateshead (GBR), Hollingsworth has declared that our very capable team includes plenty of athletes for Australians to keep their eyes on.
“Discus thrower Dani Samuels is a class above this year when compared to other athletes in the Commonwealth and she’s shown that she can win championships before so I would suggest that she’s arguably our strongest gold medal chance at this point. I’ve been impressed by the preparation of Eleanor Patterson too. She’s new to open age competition so it will be tough for her, but her ability to jump consistently means she is a contender for a medal for sure. I’ve also been happy with the preparation of Henry Frayne. He hasn’t jumped too much competitively much since leaving Australia, but he could be a surprise come event day,” Hollingsworth said.
“We’ve also got plenty of athletes who have prepared well and have looked great in training since coming to meet the team. Anneliese Rubie is a stand out for me, she has worked very hard and ran well in Europe since getting here earlier in July and I’d be pleased to see her take it to the next level after being a relay runner in the past. Jarrod Geddes is a similar scenario. Both are very much in the mix for a semi-final and could perhaps make a final which would be a good step up.”
Day one launches with the men’s and women’s marathon around the streets of what will hopefully be a sun bathed Glasgow, with the city having recently enjoyed an unexpected spell of warm, sunny days. Showers are expected early before clearing in the afternoon.
Competition then launches at the historic Hampden Park stadium later in the day. The national football stadium of Scotland, the venue has had an internationally recognised field of play built on two metre tall stilts to ensure the best possible competition environment for athletes from across the world. The construction has seen the removal of the first eight rows of seats and the proximity of the crowd to the outside lanes ensures that the atmosphere will be electric.
Set to compete towards the back end of the competition schedule in straight finals, MatthewBoyd (Qld) and Alana Boyd (Qld), who are both pole vaulters, are one of three sets of siblings competing in athletics here at Glasgow 2014.
Together with their parents Ray and Denise Boyd, the quartet combine to become the most members of one immediate family to compete for Australia at the Commonwealth Games, and while M. Boyd is a debutant, his big sister A. Boyd will be keen to retain her Commonwealth crown.
Both are very much looking forward to the opportunity that Glasgow 2014 presents.
“It’s great to be here, it’s taken me a while but at 26 I have finally made it,” M. Boyd said.
“I’m trying to get all the experience I can, and learn from both Alana who is here and my parents who’ve done it all before. Everything to now will come in handy come competition day.”
“I think I am capable of jumping higher than I ever have here. I had a season best of 4.65m in Mannheim three weeks ago and that’s the highest I have jumped for a couple of years. We had rain in the warm-up and big cross winds in competition so I’ve proven to myself that I can do it when I need to in tough conditions,” A. Boyd said.
“Being a fairly senior athlete on the team I want to lead by example and offer a few words of advice or encouragement. We all just have to go out there and enjoy the experience, because it can be amazing.”
The 2014 Commonwealth Games commenced in Glasgow on Wednesday 23 July, with athletics competition spanning seven days from tomorrow, Sunday 27 July. The competing Australian athletics team is 98-strong, the largest ever to compete in the green and gold offshore.
Stay connected with the Australian athletics team by interacting with the Commonwealth Games Event Hub on athletics.com.au, or by joining the conversation on Twitter by following@AthsAust and using the hashtag #Glasgow2014.
For more information on the Commonwealth Games, including the competition schedule, please click here to visit the Glasgow 2014 website.