Action-packed programme and plenty to please crowds

Highland dancers entertain the crowds.

Highland dancers entertain the crowds.

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A heavy shower of rain well into the 28th annual St Andrews Highland Games failed to dampen the spirits of both the huge crowd and the record number of competitors.

Held at the weekend at its traditional home of Station Park, one of the highlights of the exciting athletics programme was an appearance by Chris O’Hare, who is a sub four-minute miler - still a rare achievement among Scottish athletes.

Back in Scotland for a spell away from his studies in the United States, he was keen to participate at the gathering where he first started his athletics career.

And, he didn’t disappoint, grabbing first place in the open 1600 metres in a time of 4 minutes and 25.5 seconds. He also collected the Jim Wallace Memorial Cup after being named the best athlete of the day.

Chris, who originally hails from West Linton, donated his £100 prize to the local branch of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

CHAMPIONSHIP

Always a real crowd pleaser, the heavyweight championship was keenly fought with Bruce Robb (Rosyth) going one better than last year when he won the overall 2012 title by four points from Craig Sinclair (Drumoak).

Fifer Craig Hardie (Dalgety Bay) enjoyed success in the cycling events, winning three of the four races, while a team from Elgin carried off the tug of war championship and the Jim Wallace Memorial Quaich.

There was a very large entry for the Highland dancing - including participants from Canada - and the competition was required to start more than two hours before the main arena events to be able to complete the schedule.

Sunday’s programme also included a wide range of entertainment for all ages with a mini funfair, refreshment tents and stalls circling the arena, as well as a performance by the City of St Andrews Pipe Band.

Secretary Ian Grieve told the Citizen:”It was a very successful games and we were delighted with the attendance figures and the number of entries. The heavy downpower was unfortunate, but many spectators stayed on to watch the climax to the heavyweight events.”