Grant has that glint of gold

POLMONT, SCOTLAND - JUNE 24th: Team Scotland hammer thrower, Myra Perkins, and 800m runner, Grant Plenderleith, at their old school, St Margarets Primary, Falkirk. (Photo by Jonathan Faulds)
POLMONT, SCOTLAND - JUNE 24th: Team Scotland hammer thrower, Myra Perkins, and 800m runner, Grant Plenderleith, at their old school, St Margarets Primary, Falkirk. (Photo by Jonathan Faulds)

Grant Plenderleith used to dream of reaching the pinnacle of sport and competing on the south side of Glasgow, at Hampden Park.

Only it was football he imagined himself playing — not sprinting.

However, the speedy former Stenhousemuir footballer is in Scotland’s 4x400m team for next week’s athletics events — not that he’s letting it get to him.

He’s been continuing work as a civil servant right up until the dawn of the Games this week.

“I’m happy just working away but took some time off just before the Games to prepare and then to compete obviously, but I’m just keeping my head down and not getting drawn into the hype about it all — that’s how I prefer to work.”

He’s part of the 4x400m relay team in action on Saturday, August 2, and has already claimed numerous titles for his work on the track.

He was crowned the fastest player in the Scottish football league at one stage while plying his trade with the Warriors of Ochilview.

But football there didn’t work out and Grant, originally from Polmont near Falkirk switched his attention to track and field which has led him to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games.

He told The Extra: “Winning that competition (and £10,000 for Stenny) rekindled the idea of going back to running.

“I won the team competition at Stenny then the final at Livingston, and I thought I’ll give it a go.

“I ran an open graded event myself and got a not bad time and thought that’s coaxed me back into it and a coach got me back into it - from when I was younger.

“I was at Stenny, on loan at Bo’ness, then was released and went to Sauchie and the training kind of allowed me to do both football and sprints.

“I could still train athletics and play at a decent level.”

But when it came to the crunch two years ago Plenderleith opted for athletics with the carrot of the Commonwealth Games dangling in front of him — a target he achieved.

He’ll also have a familiar face in team Scotland.

Hammer thrower Myra Perkins is competing for Scotland and was in the same primary one class at St Margaret’s primary before she moved school.

“I remember Grant, he hasn’t really changed!” she laughed. “It’s strange to think we started school together and changed paths but we’ve ended up back here.”