Scottish Indoor Athletics: Alisha Rees breaks 35-year 200m record

By Jane LewisBBC Scotland at the Emirates Arena
Alisha Rees
Alisha Rees won two national senior titles at the Scottish Indoor Athletics Championships

Aberdeenshire's 17-year-old Alisha Rees won two national titles at the Scottish Indoor Athletics Championships at Glasgow's Emirates Arena.

Rees won the 60m with a personal best time of 7.51 seconds.

And she broke a 35-year record for an athlete under 20 to take the 200m title in a time of 24.18 seconds.

"I wasn't expecting that," she told BBC Scotland. "Last year didn't go to plan so this year I was really hoping to do well and kind of make up for that."

Many household names were absent from this year's championships, with Olympians Laura Muir, Eilidh Doyle and Andrew Butchart not competing.

Teenager Rees' 200m triumph bettered the benchmark set by Olympic bronze medallist Linsey MacDonald in 1982.

"I didn't realise the 200m indoor record would be in my sights," Rees said. "I think that was a good thing, so I was just going to run my own race.

"It's a massive thing for me, especially as Linsey MacDonald was an Olympian, and it really sets your hopes high for what I can do in the future and try and follow in the steps of previous great athletes."

Another athlete in impressive form was Heather Paton, who won the 60m hurdles in a new national record time of 8.37 seconds.

Heather Paton
Heather Paton set a new 60m hurdles national record in Glasgow

The Worcestershire-based 20-year-old qualifies to compete for Scotland through her "patriotic" father, Billy McGinty, a former rugby league international who represented Scotland and Great Britain.

Paton, who competes for Birchfield Harriers, hopes to carry her form into the indoor British trials next month, with a place on the under-23s squad her aim.

"My choice to run for Scotland has come from my dad," Paton said. "I think he'd disown me if I chose England.

"He had me learning the Scottish national anthem from the age of two.

"Running the record and a new personal best is a massive confidence boost with the trials in mind."

In the men's 60m it was a tight tussle between Cameron Tindle and Allan Hamilton, both of Edinburgh Athletics Club, with Hamilton edging the win.

And in the 800m, Perth's Ben Greenwood - a GB youth international - took the national title. The 18 year-old won in a time of 1:49.82.

It was not just the emerging talent that shone brightly on Saturday - a few of the veterans showed they still have what it takes on the national stage.

Jamie Bowie, who competed at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, was back in action despite rumours of retirement last year.

In a thrilling finish to the 400m, 27-year-old Bowie lost out to Cameron Chalmers of Guernsey.

Edinburgh's Gillian Cooke won her fifth national long jump title with a jump of 5.7m, taking her indoor national medal tally to 14. The 34-year-old almost added to that later in the afternoon, when she was narrowly beaten to the triple jump title.

"It's been a great day," she said. "I think my first senior medal was 17 years ago - some of the competitors here weren't even born when I was winning my first titles."

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