SCOTLAND’S Laura Muir surged to victory over 800 metres at the UK Indoor Championships in Sheffield and then set her sights on making an impression at next month’s World Indoor Championships in Poland.
The Scottish prospect over-powered former champion Jenny Meadows with a blistering final lap to land her second British title and secure her place in the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team for Sopot. “I was prepared for whatever pace it was and had tactics in mind. It was just a case of executing them,” Muir said. “I’m still not all that experienced in the 800 metres. I only really changed to it at the end of last season. It’s nice to have the confidence to get things tactically precise. If you make a mistake you can come back from it so it’s really good.”
Muir’s was the only Scottish victory among a tally of eight medals with three silvers and four bronzes. However, there was disappointment for Eilidh Child, who was just fourth in the 400 metres, with the European silver medallist admitting she got it wrong. “At the break, I was fine,” she said. “I thought I’d sit in and kick but I was running wide the whole time. I’ll speak to my coach and see what he says but I’m annoyed at myself.”
There was a letdown for Chris O’Hare, who failed to nail down his Sopot place when he was beaten out by Lee Emanuel in the 1,500m. The American-based Scot revealed he had been nursing a cold but was furious at a rare tactical lapse. “I finished second but only by the skin of my teeth which is just rubbish really,” he confirmed. “It’s not what I’m after and I’ve got no one to blame but myself.”
Guy Learmonth was promoted into second in the 800m behind Muktar Mohammed after Andrew Osagie was disqualified for running out of his lane, but the Borderer was furious at his own showing. “I’ve got to get it right tactically. I’ve got to run my race. It was just terrible. It won’t happen again.”
Ryan Oswald set a Scottish 200m indoor record in coming second in 21.25 seconds, Jo Moultrie was second in the 3,000m while Allan Smith set a new best of 2.24m to come third in the high jump. Meanwhile, Jayne Nisbet believes her best is yet to come despite setting a new Scottish indoor high jump record on Saturday. The 25-year-old from Edinburgh leapt 1.87 metres but was beaten into second by heptathlon hopeful Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who achieved a new UK record of 1.96m.
Johnson-Thompson then spent a sleepless Saturday night watching slow-motion replays of that high jump record before claiming a second UK indoor title yesterday by winning the long jump in equally impressive fashion.
A day after clearing 1.96 metres, the 21-year-old from Liverpool leapt out to 6.75m in the long jump on day two in Sheffield.
Yesterday’s distance was a stadium record, a championship record and ranked her second in the event in the world this year.
A second gold medal at the Sainsbury’s British Athletics Indoor Championships also completed a high jump-long jump double achieved only once before at the event, in 1966, by Mary Rand, the 1964 Olympic long jump champion. And the distance was a fifth personal best of 2014. “It was better than I could have imagined,” said Johnson-Thompson. “I didn’t sleep last night, so I’m really tired now. I got to sleep about 1am and woke up about half four and couldn’t get back to sleep. I was watching the British Athletics video they posted of me doing it [the high jump] in slo-mo and I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t be more happy with how the weekend has gone. I just want to be able to do all this in the heptathlon because that’s my main event and that’s all I care about.”
She has now qualified for both events in Sopot, although her focus is on qualifying for the pentathlon in a competition in Holland next weekend.
As well as the 800m, there was drama in the 400m as winner Luke Lennon-Ford was also disqualified for running out of his lanes. That meant Nigel Levine took the title, guaranteeing qualification for Poland.
Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz and British pole vault record holder Luke Cutts will both be on the plane, too.
Grabarz won with a clearance of 2.24m, while Cutts cleared 5.65m to win a jump-off with Max Eaves.
Margaret Adeoye won the 400m in 52.77 to secure her place in the team, while Emanuel sealed his 1,500m spot with victory in 3:48.15.