Knockando horizontal jumps facility is source of great pride to athletics coach Margery Swinton as Moray develops some of Scotland's best long and triple jump athletes
Easier access to your trusted, local news. Subscribe to a digital package and support local news publishing.
A tiny Moray village’s competition-standard sporting facility is repaying its cost in full by producing some of the best athletes in the country.
Knockando’s horizontal jumps runway and pit was developed into a Scottish Athletics-ratified venue five years ago, giving long and triple jumpers in Moray the opportunity to rise up the national rankings.
And a secondary school jumps meet held in the Speyside community next week will include six Moray athletes ranked in Scotland’s top ten for their age group.
All this is music to the ears of local athletics coach Margery Swinton, who spearheaded the fundraising effort to create the only competition-standard athletics facility between Inverness and Aberdeen in her home village.
It cost almost £36,000 to build the 41-metres long runway to meet all of the sport’s governing body’s requirements, and Swinton discovered that further funds were needed when the results of a jumps meet in April failed to appear on the Power of Ten website recognised for all UK athletics’ records and rankings.
“I contacted Power of Ten and Scottish Athletics and all the rules had apparently changed, but no-one informed us,” Swinton explained.
“We didn’t get told that we needed to be reinspected every three years, so they said our surface could be in a terrible state. But how would I run a competition if there were holes or patches on the surface?”
Swinton duly contacted a company to carry out the necessary inspection, which cost over £400, and as expected the Knockando facility passed with flying colours.
“You don’t realise how expensive it is to maintain something to a standard that’s required now by the athletes.
“But we are proud of what we have here in Knockando. It really has been of benefit to our athletes up here.”
As a result of the recent inspection, the results of the Knockando competition made a delayed appearance on the Power of Ten records - and that had particular significance for one athlete.
Elgin Amateur Athletics Club youngster Anna Reid, one of the top ranked jumpers in the country, produced a personal best in the triple jump at the Speyside event and was initially denied her record.
“The jump put her top of the rankings and it was legal wind speed,” Swinton said. “Now we’ve had the inspection, Anna’s record has been recorded.”
Swinton formed Knockando Athletics Group over 20 years ago to help local athletes and it provided the springboard for current Scottish marathon international Kenny Wilson to launch his career.
Today, the Knockando facility hosts a Moray primary long jump competition and next week it hosts a secondary school meet for long and triple jump.
“That will involve five schools and 17 jumpers, six of whom are in the top ten in the rankings for Scotland,” Swinton said.