Moira Maguire

Moira (right) with 1970 Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Debbie Brill of Canada and runner-up Ann Wilson, England

An extract taken from Arnold Black’s Archive on our Club President Moira Maguire

Marjory Bain was Scottish record holder later in the 1950s and I had the pleasure of meeting her last year. Also a Scottish hurdles record holder, she took the high jump record up to 5’ 3½” (1.61m) in 1960, a record which lasted for seven years until bettered by Moira Maguire (then Moira Walls).

As Moira Walls and Ruth Watt emerged as the two most successful high jumpers that Scotland had produced up to that point, the standards moved sharply upwards. From Moira’s first record of 5’ 4” (1.63m) in 1967, the two athletes were sharing the Scottish record at 1.73m just four years later.

In 1970, Moira became the first Scot to win a high jump medal at the WAAA Championships, in the 44th year of the event. That same year, she was Scotland’s representative at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh where a 3rd time clearance at 1.70m saw her win the bronze medal, having previously placed fourth in the pentathlon and fifth in the long jump.

Progress continued rapidly. In 1973 and 1974, Ruth Watt bettered the Scottish record five times culminating in a superb 1.80 clearance at the British Games at Crystal Palace, a feat she equalled one month later at the European Championships. This was Ruth’s last year at the event, competing at both the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, placing 4th, and the European Championships in Rome.

Moira Walls had competed infrequently in 1972 and 1973 but returned refreshed in 1975, now a member of Edinburgh Southern Harriers, and equalled Watt’s national record of 1.80 when helping the club to win the Pye Gold Cup at Crystal Palace.

Moira dominated the event over the next few years, improving the Scottish record to 1.82 in 1976, 1.83 in 1977, 1.84 under her married name of Maguire in 1979, then up to 1.86 later that year before, in a Scotland v England v Ireland international at Meadowbank in 1980, she cleared a magnificent 1.87, not only setting another Scottish record but becoming the first Scot (and the only one to date) to hold the British women’s high jump record.

Moira continued high jumping until her retirement as an athlete in 1985 after a remarkable career.

Extract from ‘Onwards and Upwards’ Arnold Black’s Archive and is lodged on the History section of the Scottish Athletics Site

Read the full piece ‘Onwards and Upwards’ 

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