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Scots do runner due to lack of access

Jamie Bowie, the Scottish 400 metres runner, has claimed that poor access to indoor facilities in his homeland could force more leading athletes to move their bases to England.

Moving on: Jamie Bowie understands the appeal of training in England. Picture: SNS
Moving on: Jamie Bowie understands the appeal of training in England. Picture: SNS

Bowie - one of two Scots in UK Athletics main Lottery-funded squad - believes that the chances of Commonwealth Games success are being hindered by a lack of commitment from local authorities to make their centres available for training on a daily basis.

Glasgow's Emirates Arena was built at a cost of £113m but has come in for criticism after the venue's indoor track was unavailable for use during a number of other events including basketball, gymnastics and badminton.

That exacerbated Bowie's concern that there are a lack of dedicated places to prepare. The Inverness-born athlete is also convinced that the exodus of competitors to facilities south of the border cannot now be reversed.

"I'm going to Birmingham this weekend to try and get a place at the world indoors and I want to be as well prepared as anyone else," said Bowie, who will compete in tomorrow's Indoor Grand Prix. "You can replicate that by being indoors but we just don't have the access to the track that we need here.

"If you're in England, you look at what they have at Loughborough or Lee Valley or other places. They're open for training every day and designed with elite performance in mind. No-one seems to be fighting to have that available in Scotland."

Proposals to renovate Edinburgh's Meadowbank could include a new indoor track but with leading Scots, including European champion Lynsey Sharp and world medallist Eilidh Child, based in England, a high-performance centre north of the border remains elusive.

"Glasgow has invested £113m in the world-class multi-sport Emirates Arena, making it available to all athletes across all levels in the city and beyond," said a spokesman for Glasgow Life. "We work extremely closely with Scottish Athletics and local clubs to make available as much training time as possible."

There would seem fewer concerns for Laura Muir when she competes in the Grand Prix in Birmingham tomorrow. The 20-year-old Scot has already assured her place in the British team for the worlds in Sopot and takes on world champion Hellen Obri of Kenya over 1500 metres, with Hannah England and Jemma Simpson also in the field. However, Muir - still a Glasgow University student - is not afraid of anyone among that field and she has no plans to settle for second-best.

"I could easily say I'm not as good as them. But then you almost lose the race before the start," she said. "You have to compare yourself and be able to see yourself competing with the best and getting results against them.

"When I first started competing, I was fairly awestruck. But now I know I've competed against the best and beaten some of he best so I know I should be up there and have as good as chance as anybody."

Meanwhile, Kris Gauson wants to use his late call-up for Birmingham to open the door to a place in the Scotland team for Glasgow 2014. The 26-year-old, who was fourth in last weekend's UK Championships, takes on reigning Commonwealth champion Silas Kiplagat and hopes the quality of the field will push him to a personal best.

"I think I'm in shape to run in the low 3:50s, which would be a Commonwealth qualifying time," he said. "If not I'll go back, get in some training and go for some races in America."

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