From Rio to the Highlands

A competitor throws the light hammer at the Markinch Highland Games
A competitor throws the light hammer at the Markinch Highland Games
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Sporting chiefs say they hope the success of Team GB at the Rio Olympics will give local Highland games a boost.

The Scottish Highland Games Association (SHGA), which oversees 60 of the 80 games that are held across Scotland each year, is hopeful the 2016 Games will inspire people to turn their hand to some of its sports.

Some of Scotland’s current crop of Olympians, including Laura Muir, Chris O’Hare and Katie Archibald, have competed at Highland games.

Now, the SHGA want people to attend upcoming Highland games and witness feats of sporting strength and skill first-hand.

Charlie Murray, president of the SHGA said: “Team GB has once again put in a fantastic performance at the Olympic Games. Their exploits in Rio will be inspiring people right across Scotland, as we saw following the London Olympics in 2012 and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

“The achievements of the athletes will spark interest from people of all ages, either to participate in competitive sport or experience it up close, and Highland games provide an excellent platform to enable the public to do this.

“The range of sporting disciplines covered by Highland games make them a superb environment for people to get into competitive sport.

“There is a real sense of friendship and camaraderie at Highland games, with athletes willing to help one another improve their performances.”

For those inspired by Britain’s Olympians to participate in competitive sport, there are a number of opportunities to do so at Highland games as a result of the varied disciplines.

Running is a feature of most games with flat and hill races. Competitors must enter, in most cases, at least a week in advance of a games being held as some races are handicapped.

Cycling races form part of the programme of some games, as do light athletics like long jump, triple jump, and high jump disciplines alongside flat running races.

The heavy events are the most iconic component of Highland games and comprise the shot-put, hammer throw, throwing weight for distance and height, and tossing the caber. A large amount of competency and skill is required and anyone considering these events are advised to contact the SHGA for advice.

For more information and a full list of member events, visit www.shga.co.uk.