MARK Mitchell’s Commonwealth Games dream has been shattered by a matter of eight hundredths of a second.
The Forres Harriers middle distance athlete missed out on selection when Scotland’s final draft of team members was announced on Thursday morning.
Mitchell (26) reached the qualifying standard for 1,500 metres by managing three runs under the 3 minutes, 42.20 seconds mark over the past few weeks, including a personal best effort in Germany last Saturday.
But only three Scottish athletes could be picked to run for their country at his distance, and the former Forres Academy pupil was pipped by the narrowest of margins.
Loughborough’s Jake Wightman also ran three qualifying times, and posted a time of 3:41.40 in Manchester earlier this month.
Mitchell needed to beat his time at a meeting in Regensburg last weekend, and agonisingly a superb personal best run of 3:41.48 was not quite enough.
Wightman’s better run, by a margin of 0.08 seconds, was enough to persuade the selectors to give him the third Scottish place in the 1,500 metres.
American-based duo Chris O’Hare and David Bishop were already guaranteed selection in the Team Scotland squad, and Mitchell’s failure to grab the third place was the end of his Glasgow dream.
He had endured a season of injury hell last year but bounced back this term, winning a 3,000 metres race in Glasgow and recording some impressive times at 1,500 metres.
Mitchell told the ‘Northern Scot’ earlier this year that running in the Games at Hampden, where he had watched Scotland play football many times, would be the realisation of his sporting dream.
A Scottish champion at both 800 and 1,500 metres, he had overcome hip, groin and Achilles problems to reach form this year, coached by Moray GP Lewis Walker.
Moray’s Commonwealth Games athletics hopes now lie with hammer thrower Mark Dry, from Burghead, who had already been selected for the Scotland team last year.