Sports authority Scottish Athletics has revealed plans to create a huge mural of Olympian Eilish McColgan in her home city of Dundee.
The government body is searching for a suitable building for the artwork, which is part of a new campaign to immortalise Scotland’s sporting heroes and inspire a new generation of athletes.
Plans for Dundee were announced as the first stage of the project – a vast portrait of Eilidh Doyle in Perth – successfully cleared a planning hurdle.
Local star Eilidh, the most decorated Scottish track and field athlete, will be depicted in a three-storey mural on the corner of High Street and Caledonian Road.
The mural is to be painted by street art specialists Art Pistol Projects, which has worked with spray paint technician Rogue One on a series of eye-catching murals around Glasgow.
The project has been given the green light by Perth and Kinross Council.
Eilidh, a one-time Fair City PE teacher, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the planning application for the mural in Perth has been granted.
“It is such an honour for me and it will be amazing, if not slightly surreal, to see it finished.”
She said: “Perth has a very special place in my heart, not only was I born near here but I lived here for the first couple of years of my life and spent four years working as a PE teacher at Perth Grammar School.
“Throughout my career, the city and people have always showed a great deal of support and encouragement, and the fact Perth and Kinross Council have helped back this mural just adds to that ongoing support and recognition.”
Eilidh added: “This mural will not only be a fantastic moment for myself, but I think it will help to raise the profile of athletes in Scotland, which is in such a brilliant place at the moment.
“We have so many incredible athletes performing on the world stage that hopefully this mural will be the first of many that celebrates that success.”
Scottish Athletics said detailed plans for the Eilish McColgan project will be unveiled soon, with more athlete artwork planned for other cities in the run-up to the 2020 Olympics.
The Dundee-born runner ran at both the 2012 and 2016 games in London and Rio.
She is the daughter of gold medal winner Liz McColgan and was raised and trained in Dundee.
Eilidh also represented GB at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. The three-time Commonwealth silver medalist, who went to school in Kinross, is the Scottish holder for the 400 metres hurdle and the indoor 400 meteres, and also achieved the title of European champion in 2014 for the 400 metres hurdle.
Mural project to inspire youth athletes in run-up to Olympics
The murals project has been in the planning pipeline for most of 2019. The idea was first discussed within governing body Scottish Athletics after the Glasgow 2019 European Indoor Championships when Eilidh was part of the GB relay team.
Scottish Athletics chief executive Mark Munro said: “We are delighted that the planning application has been granted approval and would like to thank Live Active Leisure and Perth and Kinross Council for all their assistance with the project.
“It is hard to put a timescale on these things, but we’re working with a prospective artist and we’d love to see the mural complete very soon indeed.”
He said: “We were really keen to do the Eilidh mural in Perth because we’re trying to raise the profile of the sport and of our top athletes in the lead-up and during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“Dramatic street art of athletes in their home towns and cities is a project we’ve been working away on for some time in 2019 but, as things stand at the moment, the Perth application is just ahead of a couple of others.”
Mr Munro said the aim was to encourage children and adults around Scotland to support the athletes and realise that athletics and exercise is open to all.
“We think street images of top athletes can really help build on a growing profile for athletes in Scotland – we have some terrific athletes at the moment and we want to try and maximise the success of the likes of Eilidh, Laura Muir, Eilish McColgan and Callum Hawkins,” he said.