25th January 2013
Olympic 4x100m Champion Carmelita Jeter was today joined by a strong Scottish contingent – Paralympic F44 long jump silver medallist Stef Reid (coach: Keith Antoine), T12 100m silver medallist Libby Clegg (Keith Antoine) and Glasgow’s three-time Olympian Lee McConnell (Rodger Harkins) in the build-up to the British Athletics Glasgow International Match on Saturday at the brand new Emirates Arena.
Jeter, who races for the USA in the 60m this weekend, is looking forward to getting back out on the track as she builds towards defending her world title in Moscow later on this year.
“I’m really excited to be here in Glasgow, I haven’t been here since 2010 so it’s been a while. I’m really looking forward to getting out there and competing on the new track. I’m just looking to see where my training is at the moment.
“When you’re training for months at a time and just training, it can get quite stale, so I just want to come out and energise my mind and body in preparation for Moscow. I’m defending champion and I really just want to make sure I’m ready for August.”
The British Athletics Glasgow International Match will host Paralympic events for the first time in its 21 year history, with Clegg and Reid competing indoors for the first time in their careers. However, the two 2012 Paralympic Games silver medallists are not daunted by the prospect of making their indoor bow in front of a sell-out crowd.
“I’m really looking forward to competing in Glasgow, Scotland’s like my home country so it will be nice to go out there in front of a home crowd and have lots of people there to watch. Not many Paralympic events get a big crowd and it’s my first indoor meet so I can’t wait.
“I had a little bit of a niggle in South Africa, so I’m not having too high expectations of myself. But I’m still looking to go out there and produce a decent performance at least.” said Clegg.
“I’ve never done an indoor season, so it’s something new to me. It’s quite nice because there’s no wind to contend with, which makes it that little bit easier. I prepared well for the meet and I don’t like losing – this is a chance to get back into competition and will help in fuel the fire and motivation, and remember why I’m training these long hours. It will be fun, but I never show up without the intention to win,” added Reid.
Glaswegian Lee McConnell will be stepping down to run in the 200m on Saturday, and while not completely at ease with the shorter distance, the 34 year old is hoping that the home crowd will spur her on to a solid performance.
“It’s always great to compete in front of a home crowd. I’ve moved down an event and a distance, so it’s going to be really tough. I’m not a very good indoor runner and I think all the girls have a quicker PB than me, so it’s going to be quite a challenge.
“After London, I’m really looking forward to competing in Glasgow – I’ve had a lot of support in Scotland, and I don’t often get the opportunity to come here and race in front of them. I’m hoping the home advantage will act in my favour.”
Clegg, Reid and McConnell all harbour hopes of competing for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games next year, and McConnell, who won Commonwealth Games 400m hurdles bronze in 2006, believes that Glasgow are in a healthy position leading into 2014.
“It’s a really exciting time for Glasgow. Off the back of the Olympics, they’ve managed to keep the momentum going and start moving the focus to the Commonwealth Games. Because London did such a fantastic job, it really helped Glasgow and helped the excitement going post-London.
Reid, who qualifies for Scotland through her Glaswegian father, is hopeful of competing for the non-disabled Scottish team in 2014. However, the 28 year old whose personal best is 5.28m admits that jumping over 6m will be a big challenge.
“It’s a big ask to jump over 6m for the Commonwealth Games, but it would be an honour to compete at a home Games. I want to be here again in 2014 and do Scotland proud.”
A few tickets have become available for the sold-out British Athletics Glasgow International Match, for more information please visit: www.britishathletics.org.uk