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17 October 2014

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Athletics

Arthur Robertson

Arthur Robertson

© Independent Newspapers (CIN)

Nearly a century after he achieved the distinction of being Birchfield Harriers' first Olympic Gold medallist, Arthur James Robertson was posthumously inducted into the Scottish Sporting Hall of Fame in November 2004. Robertson becomes the second Birchfield Harrier to receive this honour, following the 1975 World Cross Country Champion Ian Stewart.

The first of only six Scots to win Olympic athletics gold, Robertson is the only one apart from the Chariots Of Fire hero Eric Liddell to set a world record in an Olympic track and field event. The four other Scottish athletes in that exclusive club are Wyndham Halswelle, also in 1908, Henry Maitland Macintosh 1912, Robert Lindsay 1920 and Allan Wells in the 1980 Moscow Olympiad.

Sadly neither Halswelle nor McIntosh survived the Great War and Liddell died of a brain haemorrhage in a Japanese Internment Camp in February 1945.

Robertson, the son of a Scottish Doctor – (John Arthur Robertson, who was described as "a golfer and curler of Fife") was born in Sheffield on 19 April 1879.

Although for most of his life his home was in Peterborough, AJR was educated initially at Glasgow's Kelvinside Academy and then the King's School, Peterborough.

His first recorded athletics achievement was winning the One Mile race in a record time whilst a pupil at the Kings School.

It was not until he was 25 years of age in 1905 that Arthur began to compete seriously as an athlete after being injured cycle racing.

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