Rio 2016: Twelve Scots confirmed in GB track & field team

Laura Muir
Laura Muir successfully defended her 1500m title in Birmingham

Scotland will have 12 track and field athletes at the Rio Olympics, the best representation since 1972.

The Scots enjoyed a 'Super Sunday' at the British Championships, with seven places booked, including by Laura Muir, Eilidh Doyle and Lynsey Sharp.

"Lots of athletes and coaches have stepped up to the plate," said Rodger Harkins, director of coaching for Scottish Athletics.

"They've looked at past athletes and said, 'if they can do it so can we'."

Muir, Doyle and Steph Twell secured their passage to Brazil with comfortable wins in the 1500m, 400m hurdles and 5,000m respectively.

Eilish McColgan was a runner-up behind Twell, and Sharp was beaten narrowly in the 800m.

Chris O'Hare and Lennie Waite also progress thanks to second-place finishes in the 1500m and 3,000m steeplechase.

Beth Potter had already qualified for the 10,000m, while Callum Hawkins, Tsegai Tewelde and Derek Hawkins will run in the marathon.

Andrew Butchart added to that number on Saturday with his 5,000m win in Birmingham.

The number could yet rise, with Laura Whittle hoping for a discretionary selection after making it a Scottish one-two-three in the 5,000m.

Eyes on the prize

Eilidh Doyle powered to the 400m hurdle title in Birmingham
Doyle was almost three seconds quicker than her nearest rival in Birmingham

Just four Scots made it to London 2012 - including Doyle, Sharp and McColgan - and Harkins believes a home Olympics and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 provided inspiration.

"The fact that they were on home soil effectively means people can see it being done here and it inspires much more people," he told BBC Scotland.

Doyle and Muir will be fancied to reach their finals in Rio and Doyle, who got the ball rolling on Sunday with a convincing victory, is more bullish about her ambitions.

"I don't see why I can't be contending for a medal but it's the Olympics, they don't hand them out for free," said the 29-year-old, who won Commonwealth silver under her maiden name, Eilidh Child.

"In order to contend with the top girls in the world I need to be running a bit quicker. I want to go there and execute the race and smash it when it matters."

Muir, 23, believes she is in the form of her life and was delighted to see so many other Scots performing well.

"There's great momentum in Scottish athletics right now, and it's great to be part of that," she said. "The Scots just work really hard and we just back each other up."

'Comparing surgeons'

Steph Twell
Twell will be going to her second Olympics, having run in 2008

Twell and McColgan have both endured problems with serious injury and shared in the joy of coming through the trials successfully.

With Twell joking that the pair had been "comparing surgeons", she added: "It's part of the journey of an athlete and I think you learn so much, it's character building. It's definitely made me stronger."

McColgan has switched to the 5,000m from the steeplechase after foot surgery.

"Even in March I would never ever have dreamed of running a PB and then coming away today with a seat on the plane to Rio," said the 25-year-old, who is running with screws in her foot and a metal plate in her ankle.

"It's far beyond anything I had planned for this year. It's crazy. It makes it even more special when you know the majority of the team and what they've all been through."

Waite was disappointed with her run but delighted to get the job done since a top-two finish at the Alexander Stadium was sufficient for all those who already had the necessary Olympic qualifying time.

"I had a nightmare last night that I finished in third place, so really glad that didn't happen, and I just kept on thinking don't mess it up," she said.

O'Hare - who, like Waite, is based in the United States - edged out compatriot Jake Wightman on the home straight.

"My coach said to me to make sure you I do enough to get second," he said. "I probably won't even watch the race back, I'll just move on to training hard now."

'Things have really moved on since Glasgow'

Lynsey Sharp
Sharp won European and Commonwealth silver in 2014

Sharp, the European and Commonwealth silver medallist from two years ago, capped an impressive afternoon for Scotland by completing the dozen.

"It's about what happens in six weeks time," she said after losing her British title to Shelayna Oskan-Clarke.

"I feel I'm in the mix but I'm not going to put pressure on myself. I did that at the world championships last year and didn't hold it together.

"Things have really moved on since Glasgow. That was probably the defining moment for athletics in Scotland. People saw how it's possible to make the team and compete on the world stage."

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