Aaron Neighbour Wins the Birnam Highland Games

A little rain didn’t dampen the spirits at the Birnam Highland Games, where world champion Aaron Neighbour was victorious.

Francis Brebner filed this report for IronMind®.

2009 Birnam Highland Games

Reported by Francis Brebner

The Birnam Highland Games, which are twinned with the Livermore Highland Games in California, had a great turnout of top heavy athletes this weekend despite a full week of rain leading up to the Games. 

The current world champion, Australia’s Aaron Neighbour, was on fine form, and along with England’s David Dowson and Scotland’s number-one hammer thrower, Craig Sinclair, Daniel Carlin, Stephen Aitken, and former world champion Alistair Gunn, made up the field.  

Before a crowd of over 4,000 spectators, these athletes set the stage for a real skirmish as the Games got under way with the 16-lb. open shot.  Neighbour and Dowson were fighting it out all the way, with Neighbour going the winning distance of 51’ 4” and Dowson following in second place at 50’ 9”.  The 18-year-old rookie of the Games circuit, Daniel Carlin, landed in third spot with 43’ 9”.

In the 22-lb. open shot, again it came down to Neighbour and Dowson, with Neighbour just snatching the win on his last throw with a distance of 44’ 10”.  Dowson was in second place with 43’ 6” and Sinclair was in third with 38’ 11”.

The 28-lb. weight for distance was a sweet victory for Neighbour, who smashed his existing ground record of 83’ 11” established at last year’s Games, replacing it with a new ground record of 86’ 6”.  In second place was Sinclair at 78’ 3”, with Stuart Anderson in third place at 70’ 7”.

In the 16-lb. hammer, there was no question about was going to win:  Sinclair stamped his authority on his specialty event with a winning throw of 129’ 4”.  In second place was Neighbour with 118’ 4” and in third place, Alistair Gunn with 115’.

The 22-lb. hammer was won also by Sinclair, with a throw of 114’ 5”; in second place was Neighbour at 110’ 10” and in third, Gunn at 104’ 8”.

In the caber, which was 19’ with very little taper and 120 lb., the win went to Sinclair with 12:04; in second place was Aitken with 12:10 and in third place was Neighbour with 12:13.

The final event with the 56-lb. weight over the bar was won by Neighbour at a height of 14’.  Sinclair took second at 13’ 6”, and third equal were Dowson, Aitken, and Gunn at 13’.

Overall standings:

1. Aaron Neighbour
2. Craig Sinclair
3. David Dowson

This weekend will see the finale of the Glenfiddich Championships Series at the Royal Braemar Games in Scotland, and the U.S. Championships in Pleasanton, California - both are world-class premier events on the international circuit.

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