Scott tracking place in SA team for World Championships | TeamSA - TeamSA

Scott tracking place in SA team for World Championships


By Mark Etheridge

There may be no sign of Rio Olympic distance runner Dominique Scott in Athletics South Africa’s preliminary team named to do duty at next month’s IAAF World Athletics Championships… but she’s taking every step to change all that.

Many steps, if the truth be told, and Scott’s been active on both track and road recently and is happy with her form in both forms of the sport as World Championships approach.

Her first goal was to nail the 5000m qualifying time of 15min 22sec, and it was mission accomplished as she ran 13th, far from unlucky, in 15min 20.10sec, just under two seconds inside the qualifying standard.

It was also a personal best for the professional adidas athlete.

‘Previously I’d come just short, running a 15:24, so I didn’t want to try anything too crazy,  just run solid and get that QT. I didn’t want to go too hard and bomb the last half, but also not go out too slowly and then not be able to finish fast enough. The primary goal was to break 15:22.’

There were a few butterflies early on though, as her group fluttered along.

‘Both the official pacemakers were helping the Ethiopians and Kenyans to run fast times (like in the region of a low 14), but the pace pack with the Europeans, Americans (and I) didn’t have pacemakers, so we just had to fend for ourselves.’

That meant they went out way slower than she’d expected. ‘We were pretty much just jogging for the first three laps,’ she says.

Luckily the pace picked up constantly. ‘I closed really hard and ran a 66-67sec last lap for that 15:20.’

Reflecting on her Rome race, she sounds confident. ‘I felt really strong and in control of my race. I didn’t want to look at the clock because I realised that if I stuck with those girls I’d run the QT, but on the other hand I kinda wish I had as I may have tested myself and separated from the group and ran a bit faster, but I can’t be disappointed because the goal was to qualify.

‘The good thing is that I know there’s definitely more to come from me in the 5000m and I can run quite a bit faster than that.’

It wasn’t only about running times in Rome though, it was more about replicating big race conditions.

‘Running in Rome was just such an amazing experience. We raced in the Olympic Stadium, which was beautiful and the stadium had a huge crowd. The more I race in front of huge crowds and in loaded, high-calibre fields, the more experience I’m going to get and the more I’m going to be able to rise to the big occasion.’

After Rome, Scott headed back west to her United States base and it was time to hit the road with a bang.

She ran the BAA (Boston Athletics Association) 10 kilometres. ‘It’s a huge race, similar to the annual Gun Run event back home in Cape Town,’ she explained.

‘There was also an elite field for 15 men and 15 women and it was my first 10km distance, instead of racing that distance on the track before worlds.

‘I haven’t raced 10km on the road since high school in South Africa.

‘Once again it was a top field with speciality road runners as well as athletes with fast track times and some of the athletes I raced over 10,000m in Rio.

‘I had a great day. I was sixth with about 120m to go and dug really deep and was able to out-kick Burundi’s Diane Nukuri, who beat me by quite a bit in Rio, so I was really pumped to beat her.’

That strong finish elevated Scott to the fifth and final spot on the podium (see picture above) with a time of 32min 22sec, ‘a pretty decent time on the road considering the conditions, extremely hot and windy.’

On 8 July Scott headed back to Europe. She was one of four rising track and field stars chosen to be part of an IAAF kids clinic in London. The TDK Rising Stars Clinic was led by two-time 110m hurdles champion Colin Jackson. She was joined by fellow athletes Noah Lyles of the US and British athletes Jake Wightman and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake.

The purpose of the clinic was to give school children the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the sports best athletes, and create a buzz in London ahead of the World Championships.

Scott then headed back to Europe on 10 July where she’ll next be looking for a good performance in the 1500m in Padua, Italy on Saturday, and targeting a personal best.

That best is the 4:08.65 she ran, also in Italy, two years ago.

And then it’s on to Monaco where she has a Diamond League date in Monaco on 31 July where she’ll tackle the 3000m.

Monaco holds fond memories for the 25-year-old – it was her first race as a professional athlete after graduating at the University of Arkansas – where she ran 8:46.65 last year.

‘I’ll be pumped if I can run another PB. Last year I was very sharp after a racing a lot on the tough college circuit.’

For now she plays the waiting game, waiting on the announcement of the final SA team to compete at the IAAF World Championships.

‘I’m holding thumbs that I will be included in the team and get the opportunity to represent South Africa in both the 5,000m and 10,000m events.’

For more of the IAAF Rising Stars clinic, read here:

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