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Bowie and the relay boys are men on a mission

Scotland's male 4x400 metres relay squad will go for broke tonight in Belgium in a bid to secure an 11th-hour spot at this summer's Commonwealth Games.

Jamie Bowie, along with Greg Louden, Kris Robertson and Grant Plenderleith, must duck under three minutes and seven seconds if they are to secure their places at Hampden in August.  Picture:  Getty Images
Jamie Bowie, along with Greg Louden, Kris Robertson and Grant Plenderleith, must duck under three minutes and seven seconds if they are to secure their places at Hampden in August. Picture: Getty Images

With just one more scheduled race before the June 8 deadline, the quartet of Jamie Bowie, Greg Louden, Kris Robertson and Grant Plenderleith must get under the qualifying mark of exactly three minutes and seven seconds to earn their place on the last weekend of action at Hampden in August.

It has been a mission for the self-styled Sco400 squad and their coach Piotr Haczek for almost a year with the line-up coming less than one second from snaring the time in Loughborough 10 days ago. And with Bowie returning from GB&NI duty at the world relay championships in the Bahamas, the Namur meeting might be their best hope of landing a ticket to Glasgow 2014.

"Until we do it, then we can't even think of Glasgow," Louden said. "Either we get there or it's all been for nothing. We just have to get in. There's pressure on everyone because there are a lot of guys capable of doing it. We've now got two attempts left, Namur and the University Championships in Grangemouth. And although we're all running as individuals, the relay is the priority."

With the standard for the individual 400m of 45.65 seconds beyond even top-ranked Bowie, the 4x400 has taken precedence in recent weeks with Plenderleith added to the line-up for the final push.

"The standard they've set for the individual is ridiculous," Louden said. "It's almost impossible for us youngsters to get that time. I'm knocking on the door but as for now, it's the 4x400 or bust for us all.

"To represent your country in your country, we're never going to see this again. If we can do this, we're going to remember it forever. But everybody's going for it. There's nothing we can do except try."

One athlete who will definitely be appearing at Hampden is Greg Rutherford. The Englishman will arrive in buoyant mood, too, after the news last night that the Olympic long-jump champion's controversial British record of 8.51m had been ratified by British Athletics.

Rutherford leapt the distance at a meeting in Chula Vista, San Diego, in April, but its legitimacy was thrown into doubt when his Great Britain team-mate Chris Tomlinson claimed it was a "large foul".

A YouTube video appeared to show Rutherford overstepping the take-off board. However, British Athletics confirmed yesterday the technical advisory group on the ratification of the jump had recommended it be declared legal.

The group, which included four IAAF-level officials, said in a statement: "Having considered all the available evidence the technical advisory group recommends that the record be ratified."

Rutherford's giant leap added 16cm to the record he had held jointly with Tomlinson. In reaching their decision, the advisory group considered the field scorecard for the event, signed by a licensed USA Track and Field (USATF) official, the wind speed card, the programme/entry list and that the performance satisfied USATF rules. It was also in touch with the meeting director, who it said "responded satisfactorily to a number of questions".

The group also took the unusual step of examining the video evidence highlighted by Tomlinson. "In usual circumstances, we require a record application form and the appropriate support documentation," it said. "However, given the controversy surrounding this performance, the group looked very carefully at the available video and photographic evidence and considered two points: 1. It was not an official video. 2. It was not taken directly in line with the take-off board. The group said the video evidence was "inconclusive" so upheld the decision of the referee at the event. Rutherford and Tomlinson competed against each other for the first time since the row at the BT Great City Games in Manchester earlier this month, the former triumphing. Both insisted their relationship was fine.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh Marathon's status as an IAAF bronze-level event could be under threat after it was revealed organisers broke the rules by refusing to make public the full results of Sunday's race. The decision has come under fire from a number of leading figures, including Scotland international Ross Houston, with IAAF regulations demanding times are made freely available.

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