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Chris O'Hare thrills big crowd at St Andrews writes Shane Fenton

Sub 4 minute miler Chris O'Hare currently at home from University in America thrilled a big crowd at St Andrews Games by producing one of the best ever performances seen on the Games circuit in winning the Open 1600 metres Handicap on a rain softened Station Park.

Chris who recently ran in the Olympic trials and was also unfortunate in missing out in a place in the team for last months European Championship.

Running from a handicap of minus 15m and giving away starts of up to 415 metres to his fellow competitors it looked a tall order for the West Linton man, however following a lauded introduction from the commentator the crowd got right behind him and applauded him through the entirety of the race.

Lap after lap he reeled in his rivals and as he hit the front in the home straight for the final time a huge cheer went up from the appreciative crowd as he went on to break the tape in 4 minutes 25.50 seconds.

Chris' performance also won him the Jim Wallace Memorial Cup for athlete of the day.

He also donated his £100 prize to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Charity who had a stand in the park.

 The Games enjoyed their biggest ever entry for the track events and the crowd were treated to some exciting competition. Both the x-ties and the final of the Open 90 Metres Handicap required the photo finish equipment to determine the winners, after a legthy consultation it was Cameron Smith, Tullibody who got the decision by inches from David McKay, Kelso and Ryan Charters, Dolphinton in a time of 9.60 seconds.

 The 200 metres went to Charlie Corstairs, Corstorhine AC who got home just ahead of Fife duo David Brand and David Agnew in 21.43. Ewan Dyer,Pitreavie AC had to navigate his way through a big field of 16 runners before claiming victory in the 400 metres Handicap, Dyer got up on the line in 51.10 seconds to edge out Ross Kirk, Kelty and Charlie Corstairs.

 There was another fine backmarkers performance in the 800 metres Handicap by Ross Mathieson, Lasswade AC, his well timed run from the 27.5 metre mark saw him break the tape in 1 minute 57.09 seconds finishing ahead of the in form pair of Michael Burns, Pitreavie AC and Graeme Gibson, DWF.

 Mathieson turned in another terrific performance in the 3200 metres Handicap but on this occasion had to settle for second place behind John Thomson, Coaltown of Balgonie who was running his best race of the season. For a long spell in the race it looked like frontmarker Derek Scott,Hawick would hang on, however on the last lap Thomson had him in his sights with Mathieson 50 metres back in 3rd, Thomson moved to the front in the home straight  and strode out to take the victory in 10 minutes 09.82 seconds, Mathieson came with a power packed finish to snatch 2nd place and with a few stides more he would surely have won.

 Girls made up 5 of the 6 runners in the final of the Youths 90 metres where Jess Concannon, DWF got up on the line to pip Euan Smith, Tullibody and Soraya Sadeghpoor, Dalgety Bay.

The remainder of the youth races were won by the strong contingent of runners who were up from the Borders. Kerr Gerrard,Kelso took the 200 metres from the backmark in 24.38, Kobi Stevens, Moorfoot came home ahead of a big field in the 800 metres in 1:58.81 with the in form Jason McIntosh, Kelso taking the 1600 metres in 4:49.57.

 Many of the cyclists arrived at St Andrews after enduring a 400 mile round trip the previous day to contest 7 races at Halkirk Games. There was drama in the very first race with James Melville,Dumbarton having the misfortune to come off his bike on the first bend of the 800 metres, despite treatment from the St Johns Ambulance crew James had to stand down for the rest of the afternoon with a rib injuries.

 It turned out to be another successful meeting for Craig Hardie,Dalgety Bay who landed a treble with wins in the 800m, 3200m and Deil, Andy Turnbull,Stirling who finished runner-up in all three races took the other race on the card the 1600 metres. Both Youth races were won by members of the Sadeghpoor family, Etienne took the 800m with youger sister Soraya coming home in front in the 1600m.

 Once again the 'Heavies' were as popular as ever with the crowd, Bruce Robb, Oakley emerged as the overall champion on the day with wins in the 16lb Ball, 28lb Weight for Distance, 56lb Weight for Height and Caber. Lorne Colthart, Blair Atholl was victorious in the 22lb Ball, with Hammer specialist Craig Sinclair,Drunoak doing the 16lb and 22lb double.

 Winners of the 5 man Tug o War contest were the team from Elgin with Strathardle runner-up and Moffat third.



Published: 2012-07-31 21:24:44