JILL DOUGLAS will be bringing coverage of the thrilling final European Championships cycling in Glasgow to millions next Sunday.
The Borders-based BBC presenter is delighted but admits it will mean missing another event she was desperate to attend.
Jill and her family are close friends of former Scottish rugby international Doddie Weir, who revealed last summer that he has motor neurone disease.
And it’s a cycle ride for his charity, My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, that clashes with Jill’s broadcasting duties.
“I have known Doddie pretty much all my life and he’s a great friend of our family,” said Jill, 48.
“He’s my husband’s best mate and my son’s godfather.
“We were devastated by the diagnosis and I’ve been helping run the charity for the past eight months.
“While I’m standing by the side of the road in Glasgow watching Mark Cavendish and the peloton in the European Road Race Championship, my kids will be supporting Doddie down in Melrose.”
Doddie’5 Ride starts from Melrose Rugby Club next Sunday and such is the dedication of Jill, whose husband, Carl Hogg, is a former Scottish rugby teammate of Doddie’s, that she has gone to any lengths to try and boost the field.
“I rather cheekily suggested that Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas might fancy joining us but I think he may be having a few days off the bike,” smiled Jill.
“My family are all riding and if I wasn’t in Glasgow I’d be on my bike. As it is, I’ll get down in the evening to help them clear up and hear how much fun they’ve all had.”
Jill, who grew up in Hawick, is one of the main faces of the BBC’s coverage of the European Championships along with Gaby Logan, Hazel Irvine and Clare Balding.
The championships, which are being staged in conjunction with Berlin, are once again focusing the eyes of the sporting world on Scotland.
And Jill says it’s no coincidence that major events are coming back here following the reaction to the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
“We now have a proven track record of being passionate supporters and very welcoming to people from all over the world.
“The word has definitely got round. I can count on one hand the great cities that could step up and host something like this.
“Glasgow is a sporting mecca like Melbourne, which has hosted Olympics and World Championships and Commonwealth Games.
“We have good infrastructure, but it’s how the people of Glasgow and Scotland support these events that make it special. It rubs off on the athletes and they react to it.”
Being in her home country is very welcome for Jill whose high profile TV work now takes her all over the world.
Keeping on top of it all, she admits, takes no little organisation, with a planner on the wall of her Borders home spelling it all out.
“My years are bookmarked by very specific dates,” says Jill. “This year we had the Commonwealth Games, the Six Nations, World Track Cycling Championships, now the European Championships and then the World Road Championships in Innsbruck in September.
“I’ve already got the Rugby World Cup in the diary for 2019 and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. They loom large and I’ve already started thinking about them.”
Jill’s coverage of numerous sports has brought her into contact with today’s heroes and some of yesterday’s legends.
Cavendish caused a stir on social media last week when he was caught showing his delight at spotting Jill and she has met several of those she really admires.
“I am hugely respectful when I meet those who have achieved great things,” she admits.
The European Championships 2018 will be live across BBC TV, radio and online until August 12.
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