Former Olympic and Commonwealth medallist Eilidh Doyle has fired the starting gun on the World Indoor Athletics Championship, with exactly one year until it begins in Glasgow.
Doyle, a former European Indoor champion, says it’s a massive coup for Scotland to host the competition at the Emirates Arena next year and hopes it can inspire the next generation of Scottish athletes.
“It’s really exciting,” Doyle told STV. “When they won the bid I was just thinking what a fantastic opportunity to be back at, you know, a great stadium that puts on such great events.
“But I think, just being here today, being in the stadium again, and it’s been a while since I’ve been here, but thinking ahead to what it’s going to look like in a year to come, it’s just really, really exciting.”
Glasgow has hosted the European Indoor Championship in the past but Doyle insists next year’s event will be a different level, with the best on the planet coming to Scotland to compete.
“Yeah, it’s massive because it’s a global championships, so you’re going to have the best in the world coming here,” she said. “Obviously they put on the European Indoors, which was fantastic, in 2019 but this is now opening the doors even more to that because it’s going to be world athletics and it’s going to be world class athletes coming here.
So, yeah, it’s just a great opportunity, I think one that, you know, wasn’t a surprise. I think we’ve shown Glasgow can put on some really great events.
“Scotland can put on some really great events and it’s just again, showing that faith that it’s another opportunity to go and do that and show some world class athletics.”
And Doyle believes that bringing top stars to Glasgow can be hugely influential in how young Scottish hopefuls develop.
“You don’t realize the impact it has,” she said. “I mean, I still have people come up to me today to say ‘I was there the night you ran at Hampden’, you know, and I think that’s really important.
“In particular for the indoor events, you’re really on top of the athletes, it’s a great atmosphere and you can see them up close.
“You can see them waiting to go out onto the track. You can, you know, really see how they’re acting, how they’re behaving. I think for any young athlete or any young person, just to be able to see that up close is really inspiring.
“It’s also able to give them that little bit of spark or maybe to give them that little bit of inspiration if they want to go on and do that. The fact of the matter is, it’s not just world class athletes from around the world. There’s going to be athletes here who are homegrown and developed in Scotland as well.
“So athletes will be seeing the likes of Laura Muir, Jake Wightman and these guys and say ‘They’re from my club and they’re out there doing it’.
“I think just that’s incredible. I think it’s an old cliche, but you need to be able to see it, to believe it and go on to achieve it.”