Like mother, like daughter. Thirty-six years after Liz McColgan was crowned Commonwealth champion over 10,000m in Edinburgh, she was matched by Eilish to a deafening roar in Birmingham.
At 31, the younger McColgan has her first major international title, and it came in the race of the meet so far, pulling clear of Kenya’s Irene Chepet Cheptai down the final straight.
Finally, she fulfilled the potential that has always been evident and confirmed the step up in class she has made over the past two years.
At the magnificent Alexander Stadium, there will not be a bigger cheer than the wall of sound that cheered her to victory, with Liz at the heart of it.
Eilish said: “To have my family here, the crowd on that last 200, I cannot explain, it was vibrating through my whole body. I’ve never sprinted like that in my life. Without the crowd, I wouldn’t have finished like that. I wanted it so badly.
“It’s so special. To have it here in the UK, this is my third Commonwealth Games and my fourth event. I’ve done the 1500, the 5k, the steeplechase, I’ve finally found my event. To win it tonight is incredible.
“Your family know the ups and downs and how difficult that journey is. This is my fourth attempt and I’ve come sixth every time. I was ready to win a medal, but you could see in that last 200 I wanted gold. I can’t put it into words, it’s just mad.”
This summer, Team Scotland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, compromises of over 250 athletes, all vying for medal success.
Scotland had not won a gold medal on the track since 1994 when Yvonne Murray won this event. Liz McColgan had won the previous two.
It was only fitting that she was in the crowd to see her daughter, who she also coaches, claim victory in magnificent fashion.
She said: “The crowd was amazing but for me as a mother, not even as a coach, to see your daughter win in the same event I won in is amazing. She’s just run the race I always knew she was capable of running.”
The 30-year-old from Berwick-upon-Tweed missed last year’s Olympics after suffering badly with Covid and has been similarly unfortunate with injury and illness this year.
But just in time for Birmingham, his luck has turned, and he crossed the line in 1:49.15 to secure a place in Sunday’s final.
He said: “I love a home Games and I’ve always raised my game. A lot of people probably wrote me off with the year I’ve had, but no one really asked the question of what was going on.
“I’ve been injured, I’ve injured my quad, I’ve had hip problems, I’ve had Covid twice. People have taken a few wee digs and kicked me when I’m down but the last four weeks I got my head together and proved it today. We had a tough heat and I qualified comfortably so I’m looking forward to the final.”
Covid has been a familiar affliction hanging over these Games, with Nicole Yeargin another who is still feeling the effects.
The recent world bronze medallist came through her heat of the 400m to clinch a place in the semi-finals along with compatriot Zoey Clark.
“The preparation has been on and off. I had Covid coming off the Worlds,” said Yeargin, who was part of the 4x400m relay that finished third in Oregon.
“I did the best I could to prepare mentally for this. Physically it is what it is. Unfortunate news is mental. You must try to stay strong; my body is in good shape; I’m already fit so it was really trying to get back as quickly as possible.”
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