Laura Muir (coach: Andy Young) nailed a second global medal in three days with a storming run for silver in the women’s 1500m final on day three of the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.
And with Eilidh Doyle (Brian Doyle) having secured her first ever individual global medal just minutes earlier over 400m it was a night to savour Scottish success within the British Athletics team.
Muir finished second in 4:06.23 to Ethiopian’s Genzebe Dibaba who took gold in 4:05.27, but it was the manner of winning that so impressed, using the roar of the crowd to surge into silver ahead of the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan with 300m to go and stretching away for a convincing performance.
Muir was thrilled with her achievement: “I’ve finished 4th, 6th and 7th in world finals before so to win two medals this time around is amazing; it is about time!
“I was so focused on the race and the people in front of me that I wasn’t even focusing on those behind me. I used my strengths and made the moves in the right places. I knew I had to build it up but react when I had to. I just tried to take my time and not panic.
“I was very close to silver in the 3000m so I knew I just had to go for it this time. I knew if I made the right moves, I could get another medal, and improve on the bronze.”
Earlier Doyle had proved her status as one of Britain’s most decorated athletes with a world indoor 400m bronze won with the dogged determination that has become the Scot’s calling-card throughout her career.
Battling at the break with USA’s Shakima Wimbley, Doyle held her form for an attrition-like second lap, and maintained position to hold off the challenge of Poland’s Justyna Swiety-Ersetic on the home straight for a well-deserved individual world medal.
Doyle could hardly believe her own performance: “I’ve always won medals in the relays but to win one on my own in an individual 400m is very special and means a lot. It’s not my preferred event so to do this is incredible.
“This adds another accolade to my collection which is just amazing. It was a good race for me; I went out hard which was the plan and I’m so pleased with the end result.
“I love the indoors – I think this has prepared me so well for the Commonwealth Games as well. I can go into that with so much confidence. I’m testing my flat speed and it is clearly there so I’ll look forward to getting back to the hurdles.”
Zoey Clark (Eddie McKenna), who had also fought strongly in the previous rounds was also in contention at the break, and although she finished in sixth, the experience of reaching the final gave her an appetite for more:
“I was delighted to be in the final but when you are there you always want to win a medal. I can’t be disappointed with how I ran, I mean it is my second fastest ever indoors; I gave it my best shot.
“I’ll refocus now for the Commonwealth Games where I’ll be competing alongside Eilidh again. I think we have a good shot in the final there.”
In the men’s 800m, there was a rollercoaster of emotion to be felt in an evening of high drama. Elliot Giles (Jon Bigg) put his heart and soul into a final that saw him run out of the medals in the final few strides of the race.
It was hugely disappointing for Giles who had battled hard for position throughout, only to see bronze slip from his grasp as Poland’s Adam Kszczot took gold, followed by USA’s Drew Windle and Spain’s Saul Ordonez.
Although just minutes later the result was amended to show a disqualification of Windle, an hour and a half after the final was run and Jury of appeal had met, Windle was eventually reinstated and the fleeting chance of bronze gone.
Giles said of his topsy turvy night: “It’s all been quite surreal this evening. I don’t really know what to say right now. I haven’t seen the race back so I can’t really judge it fairly. It’s really tough.
“We put so much effort into the sport and then our race is over in under two minutes. The decision that is made has to be the right one, so I accept it.”
Earlier in the evening, Andy Pozzi (Benke Blomkvist) made light work of the qualifying heats for the men’s 60m hurdles, qualifying fastest of the evening’s five heats with 7.53secs.
The reigning European Champion dominated his race, and although he lightly clipped a few flights, finished with his trademark surge to power through the line ahead of USA’s Aries Merritt in 7.61.
Pozzi said: “That was a really good run from me. I don’t think I got off to the best of starts but in the first round there are always a couple of extra nerves, just making sure you get a clean first-time start.
“I feel in really good shape and I am feeling nice and relaxed and moved through the race well. I am expecting more of the same, but we will have to wait and find out. I am feeling good.”
There was relief for David King (James Hillier) following his heat. In spite of thumping the first hurdle, he refused to be derailed by the early knock and powered his way through the remainder of the race to take fourth – an automatic qualifying slot in 7.69secs.
He reflected: “It was good, a solid run. I’m happy to get through which means I can go back and get ready for the semi-finals. “I feel like I went into the world outdoors last year very happy just to be there, and I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have.
“I went with the attitude of ‘If I get knocked out in the heats it doesn’t matter, because I am at the World Championships.’ But now I am approaching it with a different attitude and I want to get to the semis and the final and just do my best.”
Earlier in the evening there had been huge disappointment for the GB men’s semi-finalists in the 60m
CJ Ujah (Stuart McMillan) was disqualified following a false start in his, the first of the three semis, whilst Andrew Robertson (Sam Robertson) finished fifth in his race, albeit a marked improvement on his morning run with 6.63.
British Athletics Medal Tally (4):
Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Pentathlon)
Laura Muir (1500m)
Eilidh Doyle (400m)
Laura Muir (3000m)