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Athletics: Star athlete Mark taking middle path.

Byline: John Gardner

IT takes a pretty special talent to become national champion at two different Olympic sports.

But that is what Forres athlete Mark Mitchell has achieved. The 16-year-old is one of Scotland's leading athletics prospects and is equally adept at the martial art of taekwondo.

But Scottish track and field bosses can rest easy.The highly-tipped youngster has already nailed his colours to the mast of his favoured activity, and that means that athletics will be getting his full-time attention.

Mitchell said: 'I have been doing taekwondo since I was five and was a double Scottish champion and the age of eight. But I stopped going to the training sessions recently to concentrate on running.

'But it really helped me with my athletics. It teaches you discipline and helps you to focus.'

Those qualities saw Mitchell stamp his authority all over the junior ranks this year - and at the British championships he ran down the previously unbeaten Grant Baker to take the Under-17 800 metres crown.

That win completed a tartan double at the event, with Edinburgh's Kris Gauson landing 1500m gold.

Mitchell and Gauson are friends off the track and train together as part of the Bank of Scotland Young Athletes squad.

Their friendship was tested earlier this year when Gauson set a new Scottish record for the 800m - only to see Mitchell smash it just one month later.

But Mitchell added: 'I think Kris was pleased for me when I broke his record and we're still good mates. But the strength in depth we have in Scotland at the moment is the best we have had in a long while.'

Both runners are contenders for the Daily Record Young Athlete of the Year awards, which will be presented at the Norwich Union International at the Kelvin Hall on January 29.

Tickets for this meeting are available on 0870 402 8000 or online at get a nomination form for the Daily Record Young Athlete of the Year contact Scottish Athletics on0131476 7330.


GOLD RUN: Mitchell; is emerging as one of the best runners of his generation
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 19, 2004
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