Eilish McColgan makes double impact in Birmingham

Eilish McColgan wins the 1,500m final at the British Indoor Championships in Birmingham. Picture: PA.
Eilish McColgan wins the 1,500m final at the British Indoor Championships in Birmingham. Picture: PA.
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In a Dundee Hawkhill Harriers
vest that has clearly seen 
better days, Eilish McColgan delivered three performances inside 25 hours that suggest, at the age of 27, she is entering a pugnacious prime. Runner-up to Laura Muir in the 3,000 metres at the Spar British Indoor Championships in Birmingham on Saturday, she had to recover and regroup and did so in style.

Easing through the 1,500m heats less than an hour later, the European bronze medallist returned yesterday with a spring in her step and her ambition barely disguised. “Even though I was achy when I woke up, I felt sharp,” she admitted. So it proved as she claimed the domestic title at a canter in 4:13.94.

UK Athletics selectors will meet today to compile their line-up for next week’s world indoor championships back on the same track. McColgan, undoubtedly, has earned the right to double up and trusts that she will be given the chance to join Muir in the longer event.

“I feel I’m in close to personal best shape and I want to go to worlds and show what I can do,” she affirmed. “The 3,000m is my priority but I’d love to get under 4:05 in 
the 1,500 as well and if I can double up, I’d like to do it.

“And it would give me an indicator for the Commonwealths when I’ll need to decide whether to do the 5,000m and 1,500m.”

Muir, technically, posed a similar dilemma after opting for a single distance here but she has petitioned to chase a repeat of the twin titles gained at last year’s Europeans in Belgrade and it is unlikely team chiefs will decline her request.

“It’s a big ask,” cautioned the 24-year-old, who sandwiched these trials between two weeks of live training towards her veterinary degree. “It’s not a Europeans, it’s a worlds. It’s going to be very tough. It’s three rounds which will be tougher and faster. But I think I’m fit enough.”

There will be at least four Scots included when the squad is revealed tomorrow, with the strong possibility of four more. Jake Wightman delivered a brilliant tactical showing to win the men’s 1,500m and although Chris O’Hare withdrew with a foot problem, his recent victories amid world-class fields in New York and Boston should ensure his inclusion.

Eilidh Doyle retained her 400m title in 51.84 secs ahead of Zoey Clark, who set a personal best of 52.13. The duo, world medallists in London last year, possess the qualifying marks to double up in the individual event and the 4x400 relay before linking up again at the Commonwealth Games. “It just shows you what can happen,” Doyle
said. “It is good that we are both running fast because obviously that means we 
will be running fast at the Commonwealths.”

If their efforts were predictable, then those of Mhairi Hendry and Grant Plenderleith were less so but nonetheless impressive. Hendry, still only 21, improved upon her bronze of 12 months ago by slashing her lifetime best to come second behind Shelayna Oskan-Clarke.

Her time of 2:01.30 was just inside the world indoor standard. “I took 0.9 off my best at the Scottish, and then 1.1 off there, so I have taken two seconds off my time since last year,” she said. “It is just crazy to think that I should be at the worlds.” So might Plenderleith whose 400m bronze in a PB of 47.27 could win inclusion in the men’s 4x400 line-up. Zara Asante’s triple jump bronze made it eight Scottish medals in total over two days.