Lynsey Sharp hits best 800m time of season at Diamond League

London is calling Lynsey Sharp. All points en route are merely background noise. However, the former European­ 800m champion is showing signs of easing along a trajectory that will afford her the opportunity to pitch for a place in the final at August's IAAF world championships and then see where the fates take her then.
Lynsey Sharp finishes eighth in Stockholm behind 800m winner Francine Niyonsaba. Picture: AFP/Getty.Lynsey Sharp finishes eighth in Stockholm behind 800m winner Francine Niyonsaba. Picture: AFP/Getty.
Lynsey Sharp finishes eighth in Stockholm behind 800m winner Francine Niyonsaba. Picture: AFP/Getty.

For the second time inside four days, the Scot was able to reduce her season’s best at yesterday’s Diamond League meeting in Stockholm, once more inside the qualifying standard for the global showpiece with a time of 2:00.19.

It was still only enough to come eighth but, in a mass sprint for the line, the 26-year-old was just over a second behind Olympic silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba who claimed victory ahead of home favourite Lovisa Lindh.

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Sharp, who has opted out of next weekend’s European Team Championships in Lille, is not expected to compete again until the British trials in Birmingham in two weeks time.

Elsewhere in the Swedish capital, Jack Green was fourth in the 400m hurdles while Canada’s Andre deGrasse won the 100m in a wind-assisted 9.69 secs.

Meanwhile, proof that the Caledonian athletics production line appears ready to keep churning out potential waves of talented 
performers was available in spades in Bedford.

Over two days of trials for next month’s European junior championships – and its Under-23 counterpart – there were enough performances of sufficient quality to suggest the present golden generation may be swiftly followed by another capable of making its own mark.

Jemma Reekie and George Evans both pulled out double gold to affirm their spots in the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team that will take on the continent’s best Under-20s in Grosseto, Italy. Evans has emerged stoically through the discus ranks, earning world youth bronze in Colombia two years ago before the rare glitch of no-marking at last July’s world juniors in Poland.

His versatility is unquestionable, with the Highlander following up his shot putt victory on Saturday by winning the discus by over ten metres with a best of 55.26m.

Reekie is a relatively late bloomer but her good fortune to train with Laura Muir has accelerated her rise. And she added the 3000m title to her 1500m crown with a dominant showing that will give her two shots at European glory.

“She’s certainly in contention for a medal at the championships,” her coach Andy Young said. “The two girls she beat in the 1500m were ranked second and third in Europe. And she was dominant in the 3000m despite the heat.”

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Sprint hope Alisha Rees lowered her lifetime best in winning the 200m in 23.52 secs but there was disappointment for Cameron Tindle who slumped to fourth in the men’s 200m and will now require the mercy of the selectors. Ben Greenwood was second in the 800m to also cement a call-up for Italy.

At least four Scots sealed their spots at the European Under-23 Championships in Bydgoszcz with Neil Gourley returning from the US to take victory in the 1500m, UK indoor medallist Mhairi Hendry holding her nerve to take the 800m and Kelsey Stewart impressively earning at least a relay berth with a surprise gold in the 400m.

Jack Lawrie was a mere one-hundredth of a second short of Charles Robertson-Adam’s Scottish 400m hurdles record of 50.24 that has stood untouched since 2001 in snaring silver behind Jacob Paul.