Eilidh Doyle will have one real shot at glory at the Olympic Games. Greedily, she wants two, and will surely be handed the opportunity after helping the British relay squad to 4x400m gold on the last night of the European Championships.
The Scot, 29, delivered a blistering third leg in Amsterdam and then saw Great Britain & Northern Ireland take top spot in the world rankings with a time of 3:25.05.
It leaves Doyle – formerly Eilidh Child – in fine shape for her quest to land the 400m hurdles title in Rio de Janeiro next month but, even with tough competition for places, she will plead for the chance to keep her relay berth.
“The top priority is obviously the hurdles,” she said. “But the relay is huge too. I wanted to come here and stamp my authority and show that, although I’m a hurdler, I can do the 400 flat. It’s good to have that endurance and if they want to use me, I’ll be ready.”
Chris Bennett took tenth place in the hammer with a best effort of 70.93m and will now hope he gets the nod for the Olympics when the selectors meet tomorrow.
“I’ve no regrets,” the 26-year-old Glaswegian said. “Hopefully it’s not the end. I’m a little disappointed but I’m happy with how I performed. Qualifying went well. But the whole experience of being here has been mentally draining.”
GB&NI ended up in third place in the overall medal table – with five golds, three silvers and eight bronzes – behind Poland and Germany. The men’s 4x100m squad also claimed victory on the closing evening to end their losing streak at championships with their female counterparts landing silver, while the men’s 4x400m threw away a certain win as Matt Hudson-Smith slid to third in the closing metres.
Robbie Grabarz and Chris Baker doubled up with silver and bronze in the high jump behind Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi, while Elliot Giles snatched a surprise bronze in the 800m – matching the third place taken by Scotland’s Steph Twell in Saturday’s 5,000m final.
Callum Hawkins claimed a ninth-placed finish in the half marathon. The Scot, who will compete in the marathon in Rio, came home in one hour three minutes and 57 seconds.Switzerland’s Eritrea-born Tadesse Abraham took gold in 1hr 2mins 3secs, despite taking a wrong turn at the finish.
Hawkins said: “I was feeling quite strong in the last six kilometres, but the middle part I just wasn’t feeling it.
“It started off a lot more aggressive than I thought, normally I like to come through, but I thought I’d try something different and try to put myself near a medal, but it didn’t pay off.”
In the women’s race, Gemma Steel was the first Briton home in tenth place in 1:12:19.