Laura Muir’s bid to win a world championship medal has been fuelled by previous efforts on the global stage which have fallen agonisingly short.
As she readies herself for Saturday night’s 1500 metres final in Qatar, the 26-year-old has schemed out a route map which she trusts will deliver her greatest prize to date.
With her coach Andy Young quietly scheming behind the scenes, the Scot has shrugged off a severely torn calf to regroup and revitalise her chances.
“From the start of this year, this has been the championships where I thought I could get my first global outdoor medal,” Muir said. “I’ve been fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh at worlds and coming so close in global finals… I know I’m so, so close. I just need one more step.
“It’s just unfortunate the preparation I’ve had coming into this but I still feel I’m in a good place and if I could get that medal it would be even sweeter. It would be a really big achievement for me.”
The familiar threat of Sifan Hassan lurks, the Dutchwoman blocking out the din of noise that erupted earlier this week when her coach Alberto Salazar was unceremoniously ejected from the sport for doping offences. Already the 10,000m champion here, she is under strict instructions to have no contact with the disgraced Svengali.
Muir may have some collegiate assistance from Canadian champion Gabi Stafford, who has accelerated up the rankings since she joined Young’s training group in Glasgow last winter.
“I can’t tell you about our tactics,” Muir said with a grin. Subliminal co-operation can be expected. But each will be given separate instructions, their coach confirmed.
After Muir’s race, fellow Scot Eilish McColgan will run in the 5,000m final in Doha.
The Scottish contingent at the world championships all received a lift last night when the tartan trio of Neil Gourley, Josh Kerr and Jake Wightman all qualified for tomorrow’s men’s 1500 metres final. Gourley led the way, the Glaswegian slipping through on the inside to poach third place in his semi-final and then watching Kerr and Wightman follow his lead.
“It’s probably the greatest feeling on the track I’ve ever had,” Gourley, pictured, said. “It’s my favourite spot now. The lane one game seems to be my thing now. I was forced into it. But it was kind of my design because gaps inevitably open up.”
Kerr took fourth in the other semi to progress automatically. Wightman, his Edinburgh clubmate, was seventh in 3:36.85 but progressed as well.
Kerr said: “It felt very good. It was a lot better than my heat. I pushed back and felt a lot more confident. I knew where I wanted to be. I knew where I wanted to kick from.”