Obituary: Ross Baillie

ROSS BAILLIE had been earmarked for stardom long before his shocking death yesterday at the age of 21. Colin Jackson, Britain's world record holder at 110 metre hurdles, shared a flat with Baillie in Bath, where both ran under the tutelage of the coach Malcolm Arnold, and Jackson once described Baillie as "my most likely successor".

Baillie was born and raised in Glasgow, where he was a member of the Victoria Park Athletics Club. His father, Hugh, ran for Britain over 400 metres and his mother, Sheila, was a former Scottish 80 metre hurdles champion. His younger brother Chris, the 1998 AAA Junior 60 metre hurdles champion and a former Scottish junior record holder, is already following in Ross's footsteps.

His first foray into the international arena came in 1995 at the European Junior Championships and the following year he finished fourth in the World Junior Championships. In 1997 he was fifth in the European Under- 23 final, and at the World Student Games he was a semi-finalist and a member of the Bronze Medal-winning 4 x 100 metres relay team.

In Scotland he was national outdoor champion last year and indoors this year, setting his fifth Scottish record along the way, of 6.70 sec for the 60 metres hurdle. His personal best over the high hurdles stands at 13.66, another Scottish record.

Baillie moved to Bath 18 months ago to train with Arnold and Jackson. He broke the Scottish record again at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur last year and was part of the British team at the World Indoor Championships in March after making his senior international debut for Great Britain in February. After recently returning from Australia, Baillie was hopeful of being called up for the World Championships in Seville this August before he fell ill as the result of a nut allergy.

His former coach, Bob Somerville, described Baillie as "quietly confident" in his own ability but an extremely shy individual without a trace of arrogance. He supported Glasgow Rangers football club, but he loved his own sport with a passion. "Training was never a chore to him," Somerville said, "and the success he had made him love it all the more."

Ross Baillie, hurdler: born Glasgow 26 September 1977; died Bath 18 June 1999.

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