One small Polmont school’s big contribution to Team Scotland and the 2014 Commonwealth Games

Team Scotland hammer thrower Myra Perkins and sprinter Grant Plenderleith outside St Margarets Primary. Picture: Jonathan Faulds
Team Scotland hammer thrower Myra Perkins and sprinter Grant Plenderleith outside St Margarets Primary. Picture: Jonathan Faulds

Which is the sportiest school in Falkirk? Larbert High, with its place in the Tryst community sports hub? Graeme High, with its SFA performance school? Perhaps St Mungo’s with its great haul of football trophies, or even Falkirk High with its basketball success?

Well, for this month at least, St Margaret’s primary is staking a claim of its own.

Two of the Polmont school’s former pupils - Myra Perkins and Grant Plenderleith - are starring for Team Scotland in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Not only did Perkins and Plenderleith share a school, they shared a classroom too.

“I remember Grant,” laughed Myra, “when I saw him again I knew it was him.

“To be honest he hasn’t changed all that much, but it’s incredible to think about two decades ago we were in a classroom in Polmont and this month we’ll be at Hampden representing Scotland at a home Commonwealth Games.”

Sadly, there’s no magical moment when both realised their athletic potential

wearing plimsoles in the playground.

Perkins moved away from St Margarets while Plenderleith put his sprinting to good use on the football field and signed with Stenhousemuir before moving to Bo’ness United and Sauchie, then returning to focus on his running.

Perkins finished a degree at Loughborough University and spent the past year focussed on throwing the hammer far enough to qualify for Glasgow.

Both though are still members of Falkirk Victoria Harriers and met up briefly last week when Perkins returned to the district to carry the Commonwealth baton through Larbert.

Just as Plenderleith took time to work his way through football to find his talent in sprinting, Perkins tried many events too before settling on the hammer.

“It took me three years after joining the athletics club until I found out that my event was the hammer. I tried the long jump and sprints.

“I’d like to thank my coach John Pearson and my family who have been incredible in encouraging me to do this.

“I’ve focussed my last year on getting to the Commonwealth Games and there was a bit of a nervous wait because there were four of us and only two positions - so I’m delighted to be in and looking forward to the Games.”

Conversely Plenderleith hasn’t focussed a full year on qualification, and is still working as a civil servant this week.

It’s all part of the plan.

“I’m working away but will take some time off just before the Games to prepare and then compete obviously, but I’m just keeping my head down and not getting drawn into the hype about it all - that’s how I prefer to work.”

He’s part of the 4x400m relay team in action on Saturday, August 2.