Laura Muir relishing tough test in bid for British record

Laura Muir celebrates after winning the 1500m European title in Berlin. Picture: AP
Laura Muir celebrates after winning the 1500m European title in Berlin. Picture: AP
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Laura Muir wants to be pushed to the limit at today’s Diamond League meeting in Birmingham to drive her towards another record.

The newly-crowned European 1500 metres champion will gun for Kelly Holmes’ long-standing British 1000m best of 2:32.55 in what is set to be her penultimate appearance of the season.

But even though the Scot is arriving on a high from her dominant performance in Berlin last weekend, it could take a mass scramble for victory to see her clock her target, she claims.

“In Berlin I ran the last kilometre quite hard which is good preparation for this,” she said. “As long as the conditions are good, I feel on target to go for the record. When you’re right on the limit and when it comes down to getting it within a second or so over a long distance, the pacing has to be pretty spot on. I’ll have to run it a perfect way and manage the conditions.

“If there is a light tail wind, I’ll have to work harder. But it’s a good field which is great because the last 200 metres will be really tough. Hopefully that will spur me to the line and get me to the win and the record.”

The 25-year-old will join several of the UK’s European champions in Birmingham with Zharnel Hughes facing American stars Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman in a stacked 100m and Dina Asher-Smith returning to action in the 200m. But Muir admits she’s felt the pressure lifted with her golden showing in Germany. “It was a relief. It was something I’d been capable of for a few years. I’ve got four championship medals indoors but the outdoor one always slipped away. So to get the outdoor one with a gold was great.”

European 1500m bronze medallist Jake Wightman admits he’s chasing the cash by dropping down to 800m at the event.

“I’m eighth in the Diamond League standings at the moment,” the Scot, 24, said. “I’ve zero points in the 1500m so I haven’t qualified for the final. So I need to pick up some points. I’m not sure if they’ll take top seven and put a Belgian in the field in Brussels. Nijel Amos is behind me. So are Adam Kszczot and Marcin Lewandoswki. So I’m in a bit of a vulnerable position.”

Triple European champion Asher-Smith insists she has nothing to prove when she returns to the track.

The 22-year-old became the first British sprinter to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at a major championship when she won all three at the European Championships last week.

She lines up against a world class field in the 200m today including 400m Olympic and 200m Commonwealth champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who is yet to lose this year, Netherlands’ 200m world champion Dafne Schippers and Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who won 100m silver at last year’s World Championships.

But Asher-Smith, who recorded three world leading times last week, is comfortable after her historic treble victory in Berlin.

“I am pretty satisfied in what I did in Berlin when it comes to putting down a marker,” she said, having also defended her 200m European title. “At the end of the day we all need to be able to run fast times but the most important thing is to do it in finals when the pressure is on.

“I was very happy to do two personal bests in two championship finals so the rest of the season is just about having some fun and seeing what else I can do now.

“It is more like an Olympic final so I am really excited. It’s typical we have an Olympic final straight after Europeans – I’m like ‘great’. We don’t avoid racing each other, we always turn up, and I think this race is a great demonstration of that.”

Fellow sprinter Hughes takes on Lyles, the fastest man in the world this year over 100m, 2011 world champion Yohan Blake, 60m world record holder Coleman and 100m Commonwealth champion Akani Simbine.

“I definitely think these guys are going to be coming here to take me down,” said Hughes. “Being European champion puts a target on my back and they want to take me down. I definitely think great competitors like this equal great times.”