March 03, 2019
Dominant Scot adds 1500m gold to her win in the 3,000m
Shelayna Oskan-Clarke takes 800m with start-to-finish victory
Laura Muir wins double-double to give Great Britain record medals tally
Laura Muir stormed into history by becoming the first athlete to achieve the double-double at a European Indoor Championships – and thereby helping the British team to a record medal haul.
The 25-year-old was a hot favourite to add the 1500m title to her 3,000m gold on Friday – repeating her success from Belgrade two years ago – and she duly obliged, leading from the gun before stretching a long way clear with 400m left and coming home in 4 min 05.91 sec. The Pole Sofia Ennaoui took silver, more than three seconds back, just pipping Ireland’s Ciara Mageean.
A few minutes earlier there had been a major surprise in the men’s 1500m as the Norwegian wonder kid Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who was attempting the same double, was edged into second place by Marcin Lewandowski. But Muir, against a much weaker field, was never going to be thwarted.
Her victory brought Britain’s medal tally at these European Championships to 11, beating the highest ever from Belgrade two years ago. That figure was quickly bumped up to 12 when Britain’s 4x400m women’s relay team of Laviai Nielsen, Zoey Clark, Amber Anning and Eilidh Doyle won silver on the last event of the night – although Poland topped the medal table by virtue of one more gold medal.
“Nobody can take that away,” said Muir. “I’m the first person to do it and it’s really special. I might celebrate by going to the chippy”. However, she stressed that she would soon be knuckling down to prepare for the world championships in Doha. “I’ve got the indoor medals at the European and world stage, I’ve got the outdoor medals at the European stage – I’m missing that world stage medal and hopefully Olympic medal. Doha’s that first step and I want to be on that podium.”
Muir said handling the pressures of a home championship – she trains at the Emirates Arena and recently bought her first house in Glasgow – boded well for the future. “I can’t really imagine there being a much more high-pressure environment than these past few days, and I’ve been cool as a cucumber really,” she said.
Muir’s gold was not the only one for Britain on a night where medals seemed to arrive every few minutes. In the women’s 800m Shelayna Oskan-Clarke also led from gun to tape to win in 2 min 02.58 sec, ahead of Rénelle Lamote of France, with the Ukrainian Olha Lyakhova in third place.
At 29 Oskan-Clarke is a late developer who was a personal trainer before bursting on to the scene in 2015. Since then she has won a world indoor bronze and a European indoor silver but this was her sweetest moment yet. “I know I’m strong but it’s just about making the right moves at the right times,” she said. “I wanted to be out there early and hold on for home. I knew I’d have no regrets then.”
Meanwhile the unheralded south London science teacher Jamie Webb found the right formula for silver in the 800m behind the Spaniard Álvaro de Arriba, with the Irishman Mark English winning bronze. It provided one of the feelgood stories of the championships, but Webb will have little time to celebrate given that he is due back at school on Tuesday. “They best go easy on me because I’m tired,” he joked, before insisting that he could build on his result to go for Olympic glory. “I look at people like Nick Symmonds, who won a world championship bronze at 30, and there is no reason why I can’t run 1:44 or 1:43 this summer. I’ve improved every year and I was a latecomer to the sport.”
The 24-year-old was clearly relishing the moment, declaring that his favourite element in the periodic table was krypton, “like Superman”, before adding: “I only started training at 18 properly, very progressively, and we’ve got a long-term view – it’s a big 18 months now, with world champs all the way through until Tokyo.”
In the women’s pole vault Holly Bradshaw was also delighted with a silver medal after clearing 4.75m to finish behind the Russian Anzhelika Sidorova. “There were times when I questioned if I could ever get back to the level I thought I could be at,” admitted the 27-year-old. “But this indoor season has really concreted it to me that I can compete with the best.”
Tim Duckworth took home silver in the men’s heptathlon, scoring 6,156 points to finish 62 behind the Spaniard Jorge Ureña. The only disappointment for Britain was seeing Andrew Pozzi, the reigning world indoor champion, finish sixth in the 60m hurdles final behind the Cypriot Milan Trajkovic.
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