Athletics: Granite City’s Darren certainly had his shot at glory across the sporting stage

The Aberdeen ACC open meeting at Sports Village, Aberdeen. In the picture is Darren Chapman in the shot putt. Picture by Jim Irvine 21-1-18

Few local athletes can claim to have enjoyed as diverse and colourful a sporting career as Aberdeen’s Darren Chapman.

The 51-year-old oil services company employee, who competed in track and field as a teenager, has dabbled with some success on the world stage in other sports but still enjoys competing in athletics events.

Chapman was a member of the pioneering Granite City Oilers American football team in the mid 1980s.

In the 1990s he was on the full-time roster of the Scottish Claymores who plied their trade in the World League of American Football.

And a few years later he enjoyed success with the Great Britain bobsleigh squad, narrowly missing out on a place at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

He has since returned to track and field and recently upstaged his younger rivals to achieve the best distance in the shot put at an indoor open graded meeting hosted by Aberdeen AAC.

The veteran competitor cleared a best of 12.30m in the second round after opening with 11.94, before completing the series with 11.74 and 11.80.

Chapman says he now competes for enjoyment and does as much as his body can stand up to.

He said: “I haven’t really competed seriously for a few years, probably not since around 2011.

“I’m a sprinter rather than a thrower. I’ve had a bit of a niggling injury for about a year and if I could get rid of it I might be able to do more.

“I guess if I could get fit I’d maybe like to have a go at the Scottish masters championships, but I’ve been saying that for years.

“I’d actually like to try multi-event competitions like the decathlon but I also need to be honest with myself. I’m not sure my body could take doing 10 events over two days.

“I’m not sure what I’ll do next to be honest. I just want to enjoy things.”

Chapman reflected on his cosmopolitan sporting background which has left him with no regrets.

He said: “I did athletics when I was a teenager but in 1986 I got involved with the Granite City Oilers, Aberdeen’s first American football team.

“The sport was good to me and I loved every minute of it. “Getting signed up as a running back for the Claymores was an amazing experience.

“But injuries finally caught up with me. In my position on the team I had to be able to change direction quickly but my ankles had seen better days and I had to move on.

“I got involved with the bobsleigh scene and was in Great Britain squads for about five years. I got to travel, competed in a few world championships and did a world cup season. I met some great people.

“Eventually a bad hamstring injury forced me to retire just before the Olympics at Salt Lake City, which was unfortunate.

“At that time I couldn’t face going though another four years of a build-up so I decided to quit.

“I dabbled with weightlifting for a while but in 2009 when the Aberdeen Sports Village opened I decided to give masters athletics a try. But I’ve never really been able to get a consistent block of training done.

“Maybe this year will be better, we’ll see.”