MARATHON man Callum Hawkins has told of his burning ambition to achieve Olympic glory after being officially selected by Team GB for this summer’s Games.

The Kilbarchan AAC runner hopes to improve on his ninth-place finish at the last Olympics, held in Rio in 2016.

Since then, his career has gone from strength to strength on the international stage and he just missed out on medals after finishing fourth at the World Championships in London and Doha in 2017 and 2019 respectively.

Hawkins has had to wait for another appearance on the Olympic stage, with the 2020 Tokyo Games delayed by the Covid pandemic.

However, the 28-year-old Elderslie man is targeting a podium place when Team GB head to Japan this summer.

And Hawkins insists he will be well prepared for the heat of Sapporo, where the marathon takes place, after making adjustments to his training schedule in the wake of his dramatic collapse at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in 2018, when he was leading the marathon until the stifling conditions caused his body to shut down.

Speaking to as he reflected on his Aussie heartache, Hawkins said: “It was a bit of circumstances and my own fault – a mixture of tiny little things that all added up to a big problem for me.

“I don’t remember too much after I fell over the first time but I’ve learnt a lot.

“It still annoys me to think about it because it feels like an opportunity missed but it is a big learning curve for what Tokyo could possibly be – or Sapporo – because it can still be quite hot there.”

Hawkins is joined by Ben Connor and Chris Thompson in being selected by Team GB for the men’s marathon.

The rescheduled Games take place between July 23 and August 8, with Hawkins confirming his form and fitness with two recent runs in the space of three days in London and East Lothian.

He has also been thinking outside the box when it comes to training since that distressing experience in Australia, which will help him prepare for expected average temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius in Sapporo.

Hawkins said: “I did two weeks training in Majorca to get my heat acclimatisation and then, just to hold on to it for the Doha World Champs, I got a treadmill in my shed and put some heaters in.”