Athletics

ATHLETICS

The main function of the Highland Games.  Without the Athletics, what do you have?  I’m afraid to think of that.  Below we have a listing of the different athletics you will see at the event.  Check them out, and be ready to watch, or compete.  For those wanting to compete, remember, this isn’t a “I’d like to compete in the caber toss only” kind of event.  To compete, you compete in all 6 events.

RESULTS

Below are the links to the previous event results.

Class Types

Generally, there are 3 types of classes.  But depending on how many compete in a particular class, it could be adjusted.  These classes are both men and women.

Class A

Class A is the “experienced” class. This class is for guys who have proven their talents in the games by winning a Class B division before.

Class B

Class B is the “Intro” class. Competitors that have not competed before, or, have not won a Class B division can compete in Class B.

Class C

Class C is the REAL “Intro” class. Competitors that have not competed before, or, have not won a Class B or C division can compete in Class C.  This one usually only shows up when there is a lot of Class B competitors to give new athletes a chance to get a feel.

Masters

This division is for men 40 years old and older. This division can be subdivided into age groups if enough compete.

Open

Open Class has no delineations.  Usually reserved for a men’s or women’s that does not have enough participants to warrant dividing the competitors up.  Usually found in smaller games.

Events

WEIGHT FOR DISTANCE

The weight throw consists of two separate events, the light weight and the heavy weight. In both cases, the weight consists of a steel or lead weight (usually spherical or cylindrical) attached by a short chain to a metal handle. The size of the weight depends on the class of the competition.

For A class and B class athletes the light weight is 28 lbs & the heavy weight is 56 lbs.  For female athletes, the weights are 14 and 28 lb . Master class (over 40 in most games) the weights are 28 and 42 lb.

The weight is thrown one-handed from a rectangular area behind a toe board. The athlete must stay behind the trig (toe board) at all times during the throw. The techniques usually involves turning or spinning before the release.  Each athlete gets three attempts, with places determined by the best throw.

SHEAF TOSS

The sheaf toss is a traditional Scottish agricultural sport event originally contested at country fairs. A pitchfork is used to hurl a burlap bag stuffed with straw/cut rope/or other material over a horizontal bar above the competitor’s head. Typical weight for the bag is 16 pounds. Three chances are given to each competitor to go over the bar, After all challengers have made their attempts, the bar is raised and all successful competitors move on to the new height. This continues until all but one athlete is eliminated. Heights well over 30′ are often reached.

SCOTTISH HAMMER THROW

Similar to the hammer thrown in present track and field competitions.

In the Scottish Highland Games event, a round metal ball ,resembling a cannonball (weighing 16lb or 22lb for men & 12lb or 16lb for women) is fixed to a shaft about 4 feet in length. The shaft can be made of wood, bamboo, rattan or plastic pvc.

Unlike modern hammer throws in track and field the feet are in a fixed position, the hammer is then rotated about one’s head and thrown for distance over the shoulder.

Hammer blades are put on some shoes or boots for the thrower to root himself to the ground to increase leverage. Some throwers just throw in their shoes or cleats. Throws over 100′ are reached by top throwers.

Each athlete gets 3 attempts (throws) to get the longest throw.

CABER TOSS

A long tapered tree (various ones used) or pole is stood upright and hoisted by the competitor who balances it vertically holding the smaller end in his hands. Then the competitor runs forward attempting to toss it in such a way that it turns end over end with the upper (larger) end striking the ground first. The smaller end that was originally held by the athlete then hits the ground in the 12 o’clock position measured relative to the direction of the run. 

If successful, the athlete is said to have turned the caber. Cabers vary greatly in length, weight, taper, and balance, all of which affect the degree of difficulty in making a successful toss. Competitors are judged on how closely their throws approximate the ideal 12 o’clock toss on an imaginary clock. If the caber fails to be turned then an angle measurement is used to record the throw.

WEIGHT FOR HEIGHT

Weight throws for height, also known as weight over the bar. The athletes attempt to toss a 56-pound weight for A-class and B-class,42 pound for masters and 28 pound for women’s class with an attached handle over a horizontal bar using only one hand. Each athlete is allowed three attempts at each height. Successful clearance of the height allows the athlete to advance into the next round at a greater height. The competition is determined by the highest successful toss with fewest misses being used to break tie scores.

STONE THROW

Also called the shot put (mainly in Europe and Track and Field), this event is similar to the modern-day shot put as seen in the Olympic Games. Instead of a steel shot, a large stone of 16# or more is used. There are two versions of the stone throw events, The “Braemar Stone throw” and does not allow any run up to the “trig” to deliver the stone, it is a standing put. In the “Open Stone”, the thrower is allowed to use any throwing style so long as the stone is put with one hand and the athlete must stay in the throwing area(box). Most athletes in the open stone event use either the “glide” or the “spin” techniques.