Liz McColgan ‘amazed’ by emotional Commonwealth Game snub

Long-distance legend tells Richard Rae she will have no role in Glasgow

Organisers of next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow have delivered an astonishing snub to Liz McColgan by not giving her a role in the showpiece event even though she is the greatest Scottish runner of the modern era.

McColgan, now 49, described the decision as “amazing”, particularly given the fact she was responsible for one of the most glorious days in Scottish athletics, when she won the 10,000 metres on the final day of the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 1986.

The Dundee-born athlete went on to win an Olympic silver medal at the Seoul Olympics of 1988, become world champion in 1991, and win the New York and London marathons. She now coaches her 22-year-old daughter Eilish, a hugely promising steeplechase and middle distance prospect.

But asked what role she had been asked to play in Glasgow, McColgan confirmed she had not been approached.

“I won’t be doing anything as far as I know, because I’ve never been asked. It’s kind of amazing. I was Scotland’s only athletics gold medallist the last time the Games were held on home soil and I got the gold four years later in New Zealand too.

“It’s a shame because I think it’s the day in my career I remember most. It was an epic day because it was Scotland’s last chance, there was a lot of pressure, and the emotion from the crowd was something I never experienced again.

“When I became world champion I expected to feel something similar, but it just wasn’t the same as having everyone shouting your name, and all family and friends being there.”

Instead of McColgan the organisers have appointed English-born Tom Daley and Rebecca Adlington as ambassadors, along with Sir Chris Hoy. They are also employing Jonathan Edwards to promote the build-up to the event. A statement released by the organisers yesterday did not explain why she had been overlooked, but said they “will continue to engage positively with a wide range of inspiring athletes, past, present and future as excitement builds towards Glasgow”.

And while she admits to being surprised and disappointed, McColgan said she would still love to be involved in some capacity.

“I just love the sport and that’s it. Hopefully Scotland will have one or two more gold medallists in Glasgow and that will inspire people.”

McColgan now lives close to Eilish’s base at Loughborough. As the 22-year-old’s coach, McColgan continues to apply the lessons she learned during her own extraordinary and largely self-coached career. The day after meeting new UK Athletics performance director Neil Black to talk about lottery funding for Eilish, who finished an impressive tenth in the steeplechase at the World Championships in Moscow in August, McColgan explains that up until now, that has been largely about stopping her daughter taking on too much too soon.

“When it comes to running I’m totally objective and would never say someone has the ability to do well if they don’t. With Eilish I’ve known all along she can run. She could reach the level I did, which means win a medal at a major championships, but I’ve been protective because you can’t make 17-year-olds run 70 miles a week. It has to be gradual.”

It is indicative of the dangers that Eilish spent much of last season carrying an injury, albeit one attributable to her specialising in steeplechase. In July 2011 she broke a bone in the top part of one foot when landing on the sloping ground at a water jump. Though now healed after surgery, the McColgans believe reduced mobility in the ankle lead to on-going stress problems in the upper part of the shin, but showing something of her mother’s gritty individualism, Eilish dealt with it her own way.

“The season should have been a write-off, but she really wanted to go to the worlds and said she thought the injury could be managed, so we changed to cross-training and only running two days a week.”

A few days before the trial in which she had to prove her fitness, Eilish also, McColgan relates in disbelief, decided to change to hurdling the water jump so she landed where the slope was less steep, reducing the stress.

“I couldn’t watch the trial because I knew what a risk it was, and the commentary was slating her hurdling technique because they hadn’t a clue what was going on, but she won amazingly well.

“She went in to the worlds ranked 58th, qualified for the final with a personal best, and finished tenth when she should have been last. Given all she’d had to cope with, what a season. Her priority this year is to really strengthen and I think in the next couple of years she’s going to evolve  into a world-class steeplechaser.”

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
Travel
travel

...and the perfect time to visit them

Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager (technical, applications, infrastructure)

£55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Proj...

SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's Stortford / Stansted

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's ...

Maths Teacher (Swindon and Wiltshire)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: Maths teachers for short-term cover, l...

Science Teacher 0.4

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Science Teacher 0.4 - Immediat...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week