Promising athlete aiming for the top

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INSPIRED by the recent Olympics, Stranraer javelin thrower Robert Tossnie has set his sights on getting selected for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 but suffers from the lack of a local athletics club.

Eighteen-year-old year old Robert is coached locally by Robert Hogg who hopes to start up an athletics club in Stranraer.

Although Robert has a undoubted talent being so far away from athletic competitions means that his dad, also called Robert has to be an unpaid chauffeur!

Last Sunday Robert picked up another two golds for javelin and discuss at Nithsdale open meeting at the David Keswick Athletic Centre in Dumfries, and on Tuesday at the Dumfries and Galloway Championships again at David Keswick Athletic Centre he got another three golds in javelin, shot putt and long jump.

At the end of his first season he has collected a total of 13 golds, tow silvers and four bronzes. Which includes D&G champion for javelin, discuss and shot putt, school regional champion for javelin and discuss (Stranraer Academy) and bronze in javelin at Scottish Schools Championship in Grangemouth this year again representing Stranraer Academy.

Robert senior told The Galloway Gazette: “Robert has recently started to take his athletics’ a little more seriously, he was schools D&G Regional Champion for Javelin in his third, fourth and sixth year.

“He is a member of Ayr Seaforth and has represented them at some events in the Central Belt most recently at Scotstoun Stadium where he gained first place in the B team which gave him fourth overall in the Central and South of Scotland League Division 1. He also won a Championship event in Ayrshire-Ayrshire Harriers track and field Championship in Kilmarnock, certainly in his first real season he has done quite well but in order to reach the next level he will have to do a considerable amount of work.

“Taking him to various event has proved quite expensive and we are looking at various forms of funding, we have been extremely lucky to get funding from two local bodies - Friends of Galloway, a Glasgow based trust which aids projects in the Galloway area which is helping towards travel costs and The Holywood Trust based in Dumfries which is helping with equipment costs, without these two organisations next season many of the events may have proved very difficult to attend. Robert is considered to be a promising athlete at a regional level and this funding will help him compete in the central belt.

It is his aim to compete in the National Scottish U20’s Championships next season but one of the issues is being removed from central belt does tend to put local athletes at a disadvantage regards training and event opportunities.

“Robert Hogg who is a local coach from Stranraer is hoping to set up an athletics club locally and is talking to Stranraer’s sports development officer and Scottish Athletics with a view to taking this forward, this will be a great help for local athletes such as Robert and will give them focus and much needed help.”

Robert Hogg said: “We would hope to have the athletics club up and running by next Spring. We are at the preliminary stage just now having put in an application with Dumfries and Galloway Council and are now looking at designing a vest.

“I am a qualified UK Athletics Level 2 coach and every club must have one. I am also an ex-Scottish champion in the shot putt and discus so I am ideally placed to coach!

“There are a lot of big strong lads in this area with such a strong farming community and it would be good to tap into all that potential. When I was young there were lots of competitions locally but that hasn’t been the case for a few years now. We also want to get women and children interested too.

“The target would be to get a bus load of kids going from here up to the schools championships next year but we first need the kids and their parents to come forward!”

If you are interested in taking up athletics you can contact Robert on stranraerspartans@gmail.com