FORMER Scottish indoor 800 metres champion Colin Welsh will lead the Borders charge looking for middle-distance glory at this month's New Year Sprint.

The 36-year-old from Kelso, who will start from 45 metres, has been in terrific form this year.

As well as setting a new national indoor masters record on his way to finishing runner-up at the UK Championships in London, Welsh also qualified for the European and World masters championships in Spain.

But the veteran of the track faces stiff competition at Medowmill from three Peeblesshire athletes at different ends of the career path.

Innerleithen veteran Dean Whiteford, who starts from 90 metres, has been picking up titles on the Borders and Highland games circuits for more than two decades.

And he will be fancied to improve on his third place from last year.

Moorfoot teenager Craig Angus, 80 metres, has made steady progress at both local and national level in recent seasons.

But perhaps the biggest danger to Welsh will come from Peebles-based Euan Hood, who now competes for Lasswade.

The teenager, who runs from 40 metres, has trimmed a massive ten seconds from his 800 metres PB in the space of a season and is a regular on podiums at open graded meetings across the country.

Although last year's winner, Fraser Neil, won't be defending his title, fellow Kelso athlete Matthew Fleming will be hoping to go one better than his runners-up position from 12 months ago from a handicap of 115 metres.

But there are a few unknown quantities in the field as well, including Australian Richard Norris and Ewen Bradley from Inverness.

A total of 20 athletes will compete for the coveted Pilmar Smith Memorial Trophy and the £300 cash prize on Sunday, December 30 at Meadowmill Sports Centre.