Trio of North-east athletes get the call for Scotland in Australia​

Three North-east athletes were today named in Team Scotland for the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, next year.

Aberdeen’s Zoey Clark, Stonehaven’s Kelsey Stewart and Banchory’s Robbie Simpson have been confirmed in Scotland’s 25-strong athletics team for the 2018 games.

Clark won a silver medal as Great Britain finished second in the women’s 4x400m relay at the World Championships in August this year.

The 22-year-old will once again run both the individual event and relay in the Gold Coast.

Stewart claimed the Scottish senior 400m title earlier this year and was also selected for Great Britain for the 4x400m at the European Under-23 Championships. She will race in the 4x400m in Australia.

Simpson finished 16th in the London Marathon in April and fourth in the Manchester half-marathon in October.

Nineteen of the athletes named were part of the team that delivered their best Commonwealth Games medal haul for 20 years at Hampden, Glasgow, in 2014.

Since that tally of one gold, two silver and one bronze, Scotland had a record 15 athletes selected for the Olympic Games and six for the Paralympic Games at Rio 2016.

Rodger Harkins, performance director at scottishathetics, said: “I want to offer my congratulations to the athletes and coaches selected.

“They have really performed well in the past year and made a commitment to the Commonwealth Games.

“When you take in the way Scottish athletes and coaches have stepped up over the past two years – and their involvement in the Olympics in Rio and then London 2017 – then we see the strength and the depth.

“What we have with this selection is a team with a very high percentage of final contenders.

“The overall selection policy for Team Scotland was predicated on a top six finish in each event and taken over the last three Commonwealth Games events – including Glasgow 2014. So immediately that raised the bar in terms of standards from Hampden, because the selection for Glasgow 2014 was based on a potential top-eight finish.”

There was disappointment for Aberdeen’s Boris Crighton, of Byron Boxing club, who lost out in a box-off for the Gold Coast to Sean Lazzerini at 81kg.

Fraser Walker, chief executive at Boxing Scotland, said: “The boxers – Sean Lazzerini and Boris Crighton – took on the box-off as Boxing Scotland wanted to ensure it filled the place with the very best athlete.

“In what was an extremely pressurised environment, Sean won the bout, during which Boris pushed him to the limit.”