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From Hampden to the Highlands, Yates will give it her best shot

Victory and defeat in the shot putt can be separated by the slightest scuff in the ground.

In the quest to make her mark, and to find just one centimetre more, Kirsty Yates makes no apologies for seeking out an extra impetus.

With barely two months until the athletics competition begins at Hampden Park, the 20-year-old is among those whose place in Scotland's team is written in pencil rather than inscribed in indelible ink. She is, however, planning to go the distance when stepping into the circle at the Games.

Yates, from Kirkcudbrightshire, is among a crop of domestic throwers whose Commonwealth stop will not be the end of the journey, merely a staging post. Like Rachel Hunter and Kimberley Reed in the hammer and Kirsty Law in the discus, these are early days with promising portents.

Since the first time she laid hand on a shot, Yates - who turns 21 this week - has been nurtured and encouraged by Dumfries-based Joyce Rammell, still a doughty competitor on the veterans circuit at the age of 67.

Knowledge has been transferred and assimilated en route. "But she'll admit she's never coached someone who's gone as far as I have," her pupil confirms.

Searching for fresh insight, Yates - currently supported by the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes scheme - was steered towards London-based mentor John Hillier, who nursed Lawrence Okoye to the 2012 Olympic final before the promise of fame and fortune in the NFL saw him lured away by the San Francisco 49ers.

It is a non-exclusive arrangement with Rammell remaining involved. "I go down there one week a month which isn't so bad," the Scot says. "You learn so much and because I have no distractions, I can eat sleep and train. I don't do anything else, I'm just focused. I do the right things. It seems that every time I come away from that, I've improved. There are just so many positives."

Such sacrifices come with the territory. Fully recovered from a shoulder injury, Yates is consumed by the opportunity to test herself at Hampden. Yet her schedule will not end in Glasgow. A regular on the Highland Games circuit, she intends to pick up the stone putt and the caber once her track and field commitments are on seasonal hiatus.

"It's more relaxed," she claims. "You can go into it and chill and have a laugh and I enjoy doing different things. It adds a bit of variety. This year, my focus is the shot putt but as soon as the Commonwealth Games are done, probably two weeks later, I'll be in there."

First things first. Team Scotland has to date confirmed the selection of 127 athletes across all sports. The final head count is expected to be around 270, with athletics the biggest contributor. And the countdown to Hampden begins in earnest next weekend when a big posse of Scots assemble for the annual Loughborough International Match. It will be a test, Yates concedes, of the labours already expended. Expectations are high.

"I'm really happy with the work I'm doing," she declares. "Every aspect right now seems to be on the up and I'm really looking forward to seeing how I go."

With rivals watching, what better time to lay down a marker?

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