SCOTLAND’s Laura Muir faces racing twice in 12 hours if she is to compete in both the 800 and 1,500 metres at the Commonwealth Games, as a result of an extra round being added to the shorter event.
The original Glasgow 2014 track programme has a rest day between the final of the 1,500m on Tuesday 29 July and what was called round one of the 800m on Thursday 31 July. But, according to team sources, organisers will confirm shortly that, because of the numbers who have qualified for the two-lap race, there will now be heats on the Wednesday, most likely in the morning session. ‘Round one’ on the Thursday will be the semi-finals, with the final following on Friday 1 August.
With the 1,500 semis being on Monday 28, that would mean Muir competing for five straight days, with minimal rest between the two events. She has always planned to double up, and has the versatility to do so, but such a tight schedule will place additional demands on her powers of physical and mental recovery.
Muir took part in the 800m on Saturday at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix at Hampden, and afterwards said that she and her coach Andy Young had decided she will only compete in the 1,500m at the European Championships.
The Great Britain team for the event, in Zurich from 12 to 17 August, will be selected today and announced tomorrow.
“Before we weren’t too sure, but now it will definitely be the 1,500 for the Europeans,” the 21-year-old said. “I don’t really know yet how good I can be at 800. I know I can go much faster, but until I do it, I won’t really be sure.
“It’s hard to tell. But I know the 1,500 will be first up at the Commonwealths, and it’s good I feel strong in it at the moment.”
Muir was ninth in Glasgow in a season’s best of 2mins 02.92sec, while British and European champion Lynsey Sharp was disappointed to come sixth despite running her second fastest time ever, 2:00.08. “Today was all about practice,” Sharp said. “To see what the warm-up track is like, getting to the call room, all this stuff.
“I’m glad I came, and it was fun. It wasn’t exactly the result I wanted, but it’s not the end of the world.
“It was just really scrappy and I got myself in bad positions. I was just cutting my stride constantly and, once you start doing that, it’s really difficult to get into a rhythm.”
England’s Jessica Judd was first Commonwealth athlete home, coming third in 2:00.01. Judd and Scotland’s Sharp are the only two Britons to have broken two minutes, and both will represent Great Britain in Switzerland next month.
From a Scottish point of view, the highlight of the two-day event at the national football stadium was Eilidh Child’s commanding victory in the 400m hurdles on Friday night. The most impressive home performances on day two came from Chris O’Hare and Jake Wightman, fifth and sixth respectively in the 1,500, both in personal bests.
O’Hare was in contention for the lead right up until the last 100m – a position he had been pleasantly surprised to find himself in.
“I stayed at the back for the first 600 and I was so comfortable I forgot where we were in the race,” he said.
“I got to two to go and I thought I’d better get to work and it felt really easy to step it up. I kept going for it: with 300 to go I found myself on the shoulder of the leaders. You could hear the crowd go and maybe I should have sat back a little bit.
“They helped me get carried away, which was fine. I was struggling in the last 100.”
Having been given permission to miss the European trials two weeks ago, O’Hare hopes to be selected for the Europeans. He could be joined in the team by Eilish McColgan, who was just short of the automatic qualifying time in the 3,000m steeplechase on Saturday.
After having her training interrupted by illness several times already this season, McColgan now steadily getting back to her best form, but would rather she had more time to prepare for the season’s two big championships. “If it was me, I’d pause the Commonwealth Games and move them to September or October, but, unfortunately, I can’t do that,” she said after coming 12th in a season’s best of 9:44.69.
“This is the first year I’ve not been injured and that’s such a huge positive. Unfortunately, it has been one thing after another with illness – I’ve been ill seven times since November. If I can get two weeks of consistent training, no days travelling for races, I really hope we can make some improvements.” McColgan’s mother Liz is now back in the country and will supervise the 23-year-old’s training sessions in the final run-up to the Games.