Glasgow 2014: Home support will 'make or break' Scots - Learmonth

By Gemma CollisBBC Newcastle
Learmonth in a sprint finish at the 2012 Aviva UK Olympic Trials and Championships
Learmonth will be competing for Scotland over the 800m in Glasgow
Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games
Dates: 23 July - 3 AugustCoverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, BBC Radio 5 live, Red Button, Connected TVs, online, tablets and mobiles

Berwick 800m runner Guy Learmonth has predicted the pressure of competing on home soil in Glasgow could be a deciding factor for Scottish athletes.

The athletics will take place before the 44,000 capacity Hampden Park and Learmonth hopes he and his compatriots make the most of home advantage.

"I think it will either make or break us," Learmonth, 22, told BBC Newcastle.

"I got a wee taste of it at the Glasgow International and it definitely gives you something extra."

He added: "Even if it's the last 50m or 100m you do get such a lift.

"It's going to be unbelievable in Hampden so, hopefully, all of us when we step out on the track can just take it all in, embrace it, and produce the goods.

"I relish the big races and love getting myself involved so I'm going to use it to my advantage."

Learmonth, who has won 11 national titles since swapping his rugby boots for athletics spikes at 17, has had a largely successful season.

He began the year with a national record and victory at the Glasgow International over the shorter distance of 600m.

"I think after I came out and won that race it made me realise that I've moved up another level and I'm getting close," Learmonth said.

"I'm beating world class runners and getting national records, it hit home that I was starting to make a major breakthrough."

Despite winning the Vienna Indoor Classic, with the then-fastest 800m of the year, Learmonth was third across the line at the British Indoor Championships and missed out on the British team for the World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland.

"The World Indoors was never a huge goal for me this year," he added.

"I got pre-selected for the Commonwealth Games last September and the aim for the whole year was to make sure I peak at the Games so everything's been gearing towards then."

Key Commonwealth Dates for Guy Learmonth
Tuesday 29th July (13:30-14:25)Men's 800m Round 1
Wednesday 30th July (21:10-21:30)Men's 800m Semi-Final
Thursday 31st July (19:55-20:00)Men's 800m Final

Having missed out on a major championships, Learmonth bounced back to record a personal best of 1:46.85 at the IAAF World Challenge in Beijing in May - a performance which has given him confidence ahead of this month's Commonwealth Games.

"I'm starting to run personal bests after going slower through 400m so I know, when I do crank it up through the first 400m and 600m, I should be going even faster.

"I'm in a good place right now, there's plenty more there and I'm looking forward to showing what I can do in Hampden.

"It's going to be something I'll remember forever. If I run smart and be brave I think I can make the final.

"If I didn't make the final, got to the semi-final and ran a huge personal best then I think I'd still be satisfied, but the aim is to get to the final."

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