Britain’s Laura Muir retains European 1500m title in style


Laura Muir capped off a summer of major championship medals by defending her European 1500m title in Munich.

After a regular opening of the race, the Briton Muir took the lead of the peloton 425m from the finish, only the Irish Ciara Mageean being able to follow.

Mageean held on to Muir’s slipstream until the final corner, before running out of gas and settling for the silver.

Just over 30 minutes later, Zharnel Hughes and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake completed a British double in the 200m.

His teammate Lawrence Okoye, meanwhile, threw 67.14m – his best in a decade – to claim bronze on the discus.

Great Britain now sit second in the medal standings for athletics external linkand the extended European championships,external link behind hosts Germany in each.

Muir picks up another major medal

Muir’s continental win adds to Olympic silver, world bronze and Commonwealth gold over the past 12 months.

Mageean, who also took second place in the wake of Muir at Birmingham 2022, finished with a season-best four minutes 02.56 seconds, just under a second and a half behind the winner.

Muir’s teammate Katie Snowden took fourth place, with her compatriot Ellie Baker eighth. Poland’s Sofia Ennaoui, who finished fifth at the recent world championships, clinched bronze after being caught out of position when Muir and Mageean kicked home.

The third and final peak of a stalled summer of championships proved the hardest to climb, Muir admitted afterwards.

“This summer looked tough on paper, but doing it in person? Never again,” she told BBC Sport.

“It was the hardest. It looked the easiest with only one event and two races, but it was so tough mentally, it was the hardest race I’ve ever run, honestly.”

Much like when she won in Berlin four years ago, Dutchman Sifan Hassan was absent from the pitch, which made it easier for Muir.

But there is no doubt that Muir is now a better athlete – both in numbers and in ties.

Six of her seven fastest 1500m times have come since her last European title, while a sudden glut of major medals after a string of big event disappointments confirmed her as a contender in any which company.

Muir’s confidence was clear as she lurked to the back of the field on the first lap, before coming back up, taking control and blasting the field.

As Muir walked home and gritted her teeth with Mageean still within striking distance, it briefly looked like she might have misjudged his move.

But her reserves of stamina and determination proved more than enough to bail her out as she won in some comfort.

The Scot collapsed onto the track over the line and went hand-in-hand with Mageean as the two recovered from another grueling duel.

Hughes goes gold

Hughes won silver in the 100m behind Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs earlier in the week but never seemed to derail from winning the longer distance.

He came out of the elbow with teammate Charlie Dobson, but as the 22-year-old prospect tightened and slowed, Hughes’ stride remained long and strong.

Hughes clocked a winning time of 20.07 seconds with Mitchell-Blake edging Italy’s Filippo Tortu for second place, in a reversal of a close finish between the two on the anchor leg 4x100m in the Olympic final of Tokyo last summer.

“Gold, what a way to end it,” Hughes said.

“I’m very grateful, very happy. The Europeans were more of a mental game than a physical one, because we knew I was in good shape, and my mental strength is up to par.”

Dobson finished fourth in 20.34 seconds, 0.13 seconds shy of his impressive semi-final win yesterday.

“I tried my best, but unfortunately I wasn’t good enough that day,” he said.

“I was fine in the corner, but I tightened up and lost my footing a bit and it was downhill from there.”

Find out more about the European Championships Munich 2022

“This is hopefully the start of something”

Okoye, who reached the London 2012 final aged 20 and then headed to the NFL to try and make it as an American footballer, saw his decision to return to discus vindicated after winning Commonwealth silver in Birmingham.

His first-round effort of 67.14m was just over a meter off his decade-old personal best and good enough to finish ahead of Olympic champion Daniel Stahl in a classy field.

Okoye burst into tears as the realization of becoming Britain’s first European disc medalist sank.

“Doing what I did today in a field like this means the world to me. It’s not something I can describe. I couldn’t hold it back,” he said .

“Everyone knows I had a big pitch in me for a long time and it was great to get it out. Hopefully that’s the start for me.”

Britain’s Naomi Metzger finished sixth, with a leap of 14.33m, in a triple jump final won by Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk, who was fourth in Thursday night’s long jump.

Elsewhere, Olympic champion Karsten Warholm left the pain of June’s hamstring tear behind to defend his 400m hurdles title, while Dutchman Femke Bol scored a double with the 400m flat in the women’s race .

Earlier in the evening, Britain’s 1500m world champion Jake Wightman admitted he was “lucky” to get through his 800m semi-final after getting locked out.

Wightman worked smoothly to come home second in an automatic qualifying spot.

“I actually ran very badly,” he told BBC Sport.

“I thought with 300m to go I ruined everything because I was in such a bad position, but the confidence I can get from that is that I have to be fit enough to come back from that position. , which was not who I wanted to be at the bell.”

Joining him in Sunday’s final is teammate Ben Pattison, but Daniel Rowden failed to qualify after running out of a sprint in a slower opening semi-final.


Source link