Ewan Campbell Kennedy Douglas, doctor and athlete; born November 14, 1922, died December 29, 1999

EWAN Douglas was a colourful and charismatic figure, a doctor who was larger in life even than the 6ft 4in, and 15 stones at which he tipped the scales when he was British record holder for the wire hammer - an Olympic athlete, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, and international rugby player.

Douglas, who won four Scottish hammer titles in the 1950s, competed in two Olympic Games (1948, 1952), two European Championships (1950, 1954), and two Commonwealth Games (1954, 1958).

Douglas represented Britain in the post-war London Olympics and in Helsinki, as well as at the Brussels and Berne European Championships. The speed at which his event was developing can be gauged by the fact Douglas took eighth with 49.18 metres in Brussels, yet finished only fifteenth despite reaching 53.47m four years later. Overshadowed initially by Duncan Clark, Empire Games hammer champion in 1950 and Scottish champion seven times from 1939 to 1952, Douglas ended Clark's reign with a Scottish and UK best. He launched the 16lb wire-handled missile to three British records, the last of which survived for 12 years as the Scottish mark, until beaten in 1967 by Dr Laurie Bryce.

Though he won the AAA title, the bronze he brought home from the 1954 Commonwealth Games in Vancouver remained Douglas's only major championship honour.

Douglas advanced the Scottish native record from 182ft 10in (54.82m) in 1951 to 192ft 6in (58.68m) in April 1955. That final UK mark, at Craiglockhart, in a match organised by the Field Events Club of which he was a founder, came just three years after the Norwegian, Severre Strandli, had broken the 200ft barrier for the first time.

Douglas's distances may appear modest by modern international standards, but his training was minimalist compared with current regimes. Even the concept of weight-training was alien to him, yet he still ranks thirteenth on the Scottish all-time list. His best throw would have taken the Scottish title thrice since 1989, and would have earned the silver medal at last year's national championships.

The Helsinki Olympics was

Douglas's missed opportunity. His supporters were disappointed when he failed to reach 50m. The following year, competing for Britain against Germany in Berlin, he won with 54.47m, beating Karl Storch and Karl Wolf, second and sixth respectively in the previous summer's Olympics. He competed 18 times for Britain, winning on three occasions.

Educated at Fettes College and Edinburgh University, where he gained his medical degree in 1945, he became a GP in Penicuik, a role he continued after emigrating to Australia in 1962, practising in Geelong and St Kilda, near Melbourne.

On retiring, he lived briefly in France before settling on Spain's Mediterranean coast in the mid-80s.

On the rugby pitch he played on the wing, or at centre, a Lomu-esque figure. A member of Edinburgh Wanderer-Accies, he represented Combined Services and the RAF as a three-quarter, and during the war played in eight or 10 service internationals, representing Scotland.

From his rugby era, contemporaries will tell you the tale of a wild young man, a grand piano, and the stairwell of an up-market Edinburgh hotel. Ewan Douglas was thrice married, initially in Scotland, then to a Lebanese-French countess. His partner at the time of his death was Mary, an Irish opera singer.

He is survived by sons Ranald and Roddy, and daughter Kay. He had three grandchildren.