NO fewer than eight top Scots have been short-listed for the Scottish Athlete of the Year title – with the winner to be revealed later this month.

Seven Olympians from Rio as well as GB international hill runner, Andy Douglas, are in the running for the coveted accolade.

Governing body Scottish Athletics took the decision to extend the short-list from the more usual three-five names in order to fully recognise and acknowledge an extraordinary year for the sport north of the border.

Eilidh Doyle, Lynsey Sharp and Laura Muir have monopolised the Athlete of the Year crown for the current decade and all three – who all reached Olympic finals and broke the Scottish Record in the 2016 season – are listed.

Read more: Butchart keeping it real as he bids to kick on after Rio

HeraldScotland:

Andrew Butchart, who has claimed two long-standing Scottish records and was sixth in the 5000m final in Rio, joins them as well as great Scottish Run winner and Olympic marathon top ten finisher Callum Hawkins, Eilish McColgan and European 5000m bronze medallist, Steph Twell.

The winner will be revealed at the Scottish Athletics Annual Awards Dinner at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow on Saturday 29 October, with a panel facing tough decisions there and also for the Para Athlete of the Year award where the six Scots who brought home seven medals from Brazil are short-listed.

Read more: Butchart keeping it real as he bids to kick on after Rio

‘I think we can safely say that the bar is being set very high this year for the Scottish Athlete of the Year award – probably the highest it has been for at least a couple of decades,’ said Director of Coaching Rodger Harkins.

‘When we sat down to consider all the candidates we actually had to start off with a decision not to restrict the short-list too much.

‘We felt strongly that it wouldn’t be fair to exclude an athlete who had been through a tough qualifying process to make Team GB and NI for the Olympics in Rio and had then either finished in the top ten – like Callum in the marathon – or had made the final in their event by coming through a heat.

‘That agreement or formula, if you like, then helped us arrive at the list of eight names and hill runner Andrew Douglas has had an excellent season proving himself the best in Britain and with high finishes in the European Champs (4th) and World Champs (11th) in that discipline.

‘Just looking back at some of those names now on the short-list makes you realise the wide range of achievement.

'Butchart and Sharp both broke the Scottish Record in their Olympic finals; Laura Muir became the first Scot to win the Diamond Race which is the very top echelon of the sport; Eilish McColgan defied her own expectations on return from injury to post PB performances and reach an Olympic final and Steph Twell took an individual bronze at the European Champs in Holland.

‘Eilidh Doyle broke her Scottish Record, won a relay gold at the Euros and then a relay bronze in Rio – the first Scot to medal at an Olympics for 28 years in track and field.

'For Callum Hawkins to finish ninth in the Olympic marathon was superb but should not have been a real surprise given his London Marathon performance and, of course, we've now seen that again in Glasgow.

‘So, while it is a difficult decision for us, it is one you would always love to have!

‘I congratulate all those athletes short-listed and the coaches involved in helping them reach these levels. Our Coach of the Year categories have tested us, as well, with five names on the Performance Coach of the Year award list.

‘In the U20 list, we also have three athletes who reached their finals at the World Juniors;  a European U18 medallist and a world class Para athlete. And then the Para Athlete of the Year one itself is another really tough choice.

‘I can’t speak too highly of the Scottish athletes who have been in Rio this summer, both Olympians and Paralympians, and that will be reflected at the Awards Dinner.

‘But we remember, too, that the sport in Scotland also covers hill running, ultra, cross country, Clubs, Officials and Volunteers and it is right to celebrate that involvement at the Annual Dinner.’

(Short-lists in alphabetical order)

Athlete of the Year:

Andrew Butchart; Andrew Douglas; Eilidh Doyle; Callum Hawkins; Eilish McColgan; Laura Muir; Lynsey Sharp; Steph Twell

Para Athlete of the Year:

Jo Butterfield; Libby Clegg; Maria Lyle; Sammi Kinghorn; Derek Rae; Stef Reid

U20 Athlete of the Year:

George Evans; Josh Kerr; Alisha Rees; Cameron Tindle; Shelby Watson

U17 Athlete of the Year:

Maria Lyle; Holly McArthur; Alessandro Schenini; Erin Wallace

Masters Athlete of the Year:

Philippa Millage; Claire Thompson; Kerry-Liam Wilson

2016 Short-lists additional awards

Performance Coach of the Year:

Sophie Dunnett (Andy Douglas)

Derek Easton (Andy Butchart)

Robert Hawkins (Callum and Derek Hawkins)

Ian Mirfin (Sammi Kinghorn and Shelby Watson)

Andy Young (Laura Muir)

Development Coach of the Year:

Willy Russell (Banchory & Stonehaven)

Dudley Walker (Giffnock North AAC)

Club Coach of the Year:

Andrew Ferguson (Aberdeen AAC)

Will Hogg (Central AC)

Donald Pegrum and Archie McBride (Cumbernauld AAC)

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Impact Club of the Year:

Aberdeen AAC; Chirnside Chasers; Cumbernauld AAC; Shetland AAC; Springburn Harriers

Off-Track Club of the Year:

Cambuslang Harriers; Central AC; Inverclyde AC; Giffnock North AAC

Track and Field Club of the Year:

Central AC; Edinburgh AC; Victoria Park-City of Glasgow

Volunteer of the Year:

Bobby Hill (Law & District AAC); Duncan McKellar (Garscube Harriers); Sandra McLean (North Uist AC); Hugh Rankin (Kilmarnock Harriers)

Official of the Year:

Brian Brown; Alistair Aitchison