Medals may have proven elusive in the company they have kept over the past 10 days, but the prospect of a grand Scottish haul on track, field and road in the Gold Coast next year has been highlighted by performances at the World Championship in London and today brings one final shot at glory for five, or perhaps six of the Caledonian contingent.
With women having led what has been a major upturn in the nation’s standing in the sport in recent years it is apt that they comprise the majority, but arguably the best chance of adding to the solitary individual won by a Scottish athlete at a World Championships, more than a quarter of a century ago when Liz McColgan claimed gold in Tokyo, is Chris O’Hare.
The senior figure among a trio of Edinburgh AC products who comprised the entire British representation in their event, the 26-year-old has come through as teenager Josh Kerr in the heats and Jake Wightman in the semis, were forced out and he has looked assured throughout, physically strong and tactically aware in conserving energy for what he believes is a wide open final.
His race is sandwiched in among three races that his compatriots have reached in very different ways and the chance of medals among those that precede O’Hare’s appearance looks remote on the basis of qualifying performances.
Laura Muir, courtesy of her golden double at the European Indoor Championships, has been described by British team captain and fellow Scot Eilidh Doyle as her ‘favourite’ because of the brave way in which she runs.
However her best chance here was always going to be in the 1500 metres, where she was edged out of the medals by the great South African middle distance runner Caster Semenya and for all that she insisted she would recover in time for the final, Muir has been flat out on the track after both that race and her semi-final in the 5000 metres where she is a competitive novice.
She had to rely on being one of the quickest of those outside the automatic qualifying spots to get into this final and while fellow Dundee Hawkhill Harrier Eilish McColgan claimed her place as of right by finishing in the top five in her semi-final, her astonishment at having done so with a personal best suggests that getting through is probably the best she could have hoped for coming into the event.
Immediately after their race Lynsey Sharp takes to the track some 24 hours after being put through an emotional wringer as she fell short in her lunge for the line when attempting to claim one of the two automatic slots for the 800 metres final, saw that she had registered a fastest loser time that gave her a chance then found herself disqualified for being deemed to have barged into American rival Charlene Lipsey only to be reinstated on appeal.
It is not the first drama that has surrounded Sharp at a major event so, with vast experience behind her, the former European champion ought to be able to get her mindset right to give herself the best possible chance of performing at her best in the final, but again there was little in the way she qualified to suggest that she will be among the prizes this time.
Fellow European champion Doyle may, meanwhile, get the chance to round off her captaincy with a flourish if the decision is made to freshen up the 4×400 metres relay team that came through qualifying unscathed this morning, but as the current British champion Zoey Clark, who led them off in that semi-final in which they finished second to the USA and set the third fastest time overall, seems sure to be involved in what looks a great chance of adding to the British medal tally.