A LOCAL runner has struck gold at the prestigious International Children’s Games in San Francisco.
Craig Wellcoat from Motherwell won the boys’ 1500 metres title at the event dubbed ‘the mini Olympics.’
He then followed up this success by winning bronze in the 800 metres race just hours later.
The 14-year-old told the Wishaw Press: “In the 1500 metres final I was in fifth place pretty much all the way round until the second last lap when someone fell in front of me.
“After that I managed to get past him and took the lead on the final lap and managed to hold on until the finish.”
Craig, who attends Braidhurst High School, only took up racing seriously just over a year ago after winning a race at the Scottish Districts Championships.
He said: “ I was racing for my school at that event and after winning there, Pat Kelly (head coach of Law and District AAC) asked me to go along to training at the club.
“He has helped me all year and I would like to thank him for that.
“Before I went to San Francisco I was working on my technique to get a good finish and it worked.”
Since its inception in 1968, the International Children’s Games has grown into a global competition and cultural festival with more than 1000 athletes from 50 countries competing each year.
And today it is the largest multi-sport international youth festival with kids competing in sports including football, table tennis, volleyball and basketball.
Craig added: “It is a big event and I was really nervous before my races.
“But I used my nerves to get the adrenalin going and to pull me round the track.
“I really enjoyed the whole experience and met nice people from Australia and Ireland who were staying in our campus.
“It was very friendly and everyone was partying and having a good time.”
Craig is pleased that the International Children’s Games are coming to Lanarkshire in 2011 after North and South Lanarkshire Councils teamed up to bid for the showpiece event – beating off stiff competition from all around the globe.
Craig enthused: “It is great for the area. I think it will get more kids into sport and it will get kids from all over the world together like it did in San Francisco.”