Josh Kerr determined to make Commonwealth debut for Team Scotland

JOSH KERR wants to make his Commonwealth Games debut for Team Scotland at Birmingham 2022.

The Olympic 1500m bronze medallist – who is based in the United States – is excited about a hectic summer next year.

Kerr will feature at the World Champs in Oregon and the European Championships in Berlin either side of the Commonwealths.

Speaking to Scottish Athletics, he confirmed wearing the Team Scotland vest for the first time is a big priority as he looks to build on that superb breakthrough medal in Tokyo.

He clocked a stunning new Scottish Record for the 1500m at 3:29.05 this summer.

Josh, who will be back in Scotland later this month and plans to show youngsters and former coaches at Edinburgh AC his Olympic medal in person, also spoke about how he was inspired in Japan by the podium feats of Laura Muir and Keely Hodgkinson.

HeraldScotland: Kerr closing in on the finish lineKerr closing in on the finish line

He said: “I’d say I would like to race in at least two of the big championship events next summer.

“I’ve never run at the Commonwealth Games and hopefully will be selected by Team Scotland.

“I love major championship running. I would love to run a Commonwealth Games.

“Those are the kinds of things when growing up, and competing in Scottish age group champs or whatever, that you are looking towards and wanting to be involved in.

“It would be a really cool thing to do to wear a Scotland vest. I’ve not been home for a very long time so Birmingham 2022 is a big goal for next summer.

“It is pretty much the same as a World Champs except we don’t have the Americans and the Norwegians – I will just have to deal with the Kenyans in the 1500m.

“I’m very excited about next summer because I am a championship racer and that’s why I’m in the sport.”

Kerr was close to achieving silver in that Tokyo final as many years of hard work paid off.

Reflecting further, he added: “It was a long time coming – I was waiting for the Olympics for two years effectively (after Doha World Champs in 2019).

“Tokyo was at the front of my mind for a long time and you put a plan together to try and peak on the date of the final – August 7, 2021.

“Then you just hope and pray that it goes to plan and things don’t go wrong – and there are so many little variables that can happen.

“I’m proud of how I handled it all and thrilled to come away with some ‘hardware’.

“I’m coming to Edinburgh in September and I will take the medal down to Edinburgh AC to show youngsters and there are a lot people there who are part of it and whom I want to thank in person.”

HeraldScotland: Kerr wins Scottish U17 Short Course XC in Glasgow in November 2014. Credit: Bobby GavinKerr wins Scottish U17 Short Course XC in Glasgow in November 2014. Credit: Bobby Gavin

Relaxing by playing pool in the Olympic village with GB and NI team-mates Jake Wightman and Jake Heyward quickly became a different moment entirely when Keely Hodgkinson dropped by wearing her 800m silver medal.

“Everyone reacts in a different way to a team-mate or someone in your group having some success,” said Josh.

“You do tend to look at it and think ‘that’s what I want to be going through’.

“Keely came back to our apartment and I think myself and two Jakes were playing pool or something like that. Keely hung out with us for a while and had her medal with her. It was a big ‘respect’ moment.

“But I had to take myself away from it after a bit because you can get too excited about what someone else has achieved. That’s not why you are there.

“I was delighted for Keely, of course, and then also for Laura Muir – although Laura’s final was the night before ours so we didn’t cross paths much at all and she had a lot of media to do the following day.

“But they were both very big motivators to say ‘this is possible’. Seeing Keely made it very realistic.

“I don’t do my social media when at a major Champs, so I probably wasn’t close to the feeling back in Scotland but we watched the race and the interviews and of course we knew what it meant to Laura.

“In her interview she said how hard she had worked and for how long and, again, that was another motivator for me – to try and grab the Olympic opportunity.

“I could see the emotion. I’ve watched Laura racing growing up myself and racing 1500m so a medal close to home was inspirational.

“She ran that final quite superbly and to beat Sifan Hassan for silver was very cool indeed.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992