Scotland’s Laura Muir completed the first part of her double gold mission by winning the 1500 metres at the European Indoor Championships.
The 23-year-old from Milnathort clocked a championship record, British record and personal best of four minutes 2.39 seconds in Belgrade to secure her first major title.
Muir – who has set three European records already this year – was the favourite to win and dominated the race, winning by more than two seconds, ahead of Sunday’s 3,000m final.
The Scot, who beat Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen and Poland’s Sofia Ennaoui into second and third, was almost denied her lap of honour when a steward blocked her on the track but she insisted she was not going to miss out.
“I had to fight for that didn’t I? The lady said we didn’t have time but on my first medal I’m not going to lose out on my lap of honour,” said Muir.
“I’m glad I got the medal and the lap of honour. I couldn’t really believe what she was saying but at the end of the day I thought she wouldn’t be able to catch me.”
Muir added: “It has been a long time coming. It feels like the last few years, it’s slipped past. But now it’s a medal and I’m so happy.
“We’ll see how it goes in the 3,000 metres but I think I’ve broken the ice there, it gives me a lot of confidence to be able to stand on the podium, let alone the top, so I’m really pleased. It’ll give me a lot of confidence for tomorrow and later on in the year.
“I was actually quite relaxed because I knew what I had to do and I knew I was stronger than a lot of the girls. I didn’t expect someone to be on my shoulder with 300 metres to go but I put the welly in and manged come away with the win.
“I’m going to have to hang on [on Sunday] hopefully I can come away with a gold but I’ve had a pretty hard weekend. I’d love to come away with double gold but we’ll see how the legs go.
“If I can get on the podium, I’ll be happy.”
Muir, who is studying to be a vet, had suffered disappointment in the past having finished fourth and fifth at the European Indoors and World Championships respectively in 2015.
She was also in tears in 2014 when she failed to make the final of the women’s 800m having been tipped for a breakthrough as a 20-year-old.
Seventh place in the 1500m at last year’s Rio Olympics was not treated as a disappointment by Muir having gone for gold, only to get swallowed up by the field in the final 150m.
She added: “I’ve been training really hard and Rio gave me that determination over the winter to come back faster and stronger. It gave me an extra little push to do the best I can.”
Richard Kilty made it two gold medals in just over an hour for Britain by defending his men’s 60metres title swiftly after Muir had won.
Kilty, 27, who won the indoor title in Prague in 2015, stormed to victory in 6.54 seconds on Saturday evening, after a false start which had seen team-mate Andrew Robertson disqualified in Belgrade.