Eilish McColgan lands 10,000m silver at European Championships to continue fine summer

Eilish McColgan extended her sparkling sporting summer by battling to a brave 10,000m silver medal at the European Championships.

Eilish McColgan poses after winning the silver medal in the Women's 10,000 meters during the athletics competition in the Olympic Stadium at the European Championships in Munich, Germany.
Eilish McColgan poses after winning the silver medal in the Women's 10,000 meters during the athletics competition in the Olympic Stadium at the European Championships in Munich, Germany.

The Scottish athlete, 31, was dramatically crowned Commonwealth champion in Birmingham earlier this month and followed it up with second in Munich behind Turkish star Yasemin Can.

McColgan, whose mum Liz won two Commonwealth Games titles over the same distance in 1986 and 1990, clocked a time of 30:41.05 to finish just over eight seconds behind Can and ahead of Lonah Chemtai Salpeter in third.

The Dundee star gave an admirable account of herself but was unable to lower the colours of 2016 European champion Can, 25, who ran a brilliant season’s best of 30:32.57 in Germany.

McColgan crossed the line 5.32s ahead of Salpeter, 33, while elsewhere, fellow Brits Samantha Harrison and Jessica Judd failed to live with the race’s brutal pace.

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She said: “I’m pleased but disappointed.

“I would have loved to become European champion tonight but I definitely felt tired legs today.

“The Commonwealths was one of the craziest weeks of my life and I found it tough to get myself up again today. I can’t complain with a silver medal.

“She’s an incredible athlete, one of the best in the world. I did my best but she was too good tonight.

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“It will be tough [doing the 5000m], I’ve got two days recovery to do it all again. We’ll have a think about it tonight but I’m sure I’ll be back, I love racing. To add another medal, I’m more than proud.”

McColgan’s story is infectious and her brilliant Birmingham triumph rapidly catapulted her into the hearts of the sporting nation.

She followed in the footsteps of her mum Liz – who claimed Commonwealth glory in Edinburgh and Auckland – to soar to the summit of the podium at a raucous Alexander Stadium.

Prior to that moment, McColgan had just two major medals to her name in the form of 5000m silver at the European Championships in 2018 and 3000m bronze in the 2017 indoor edition in Belgrade.

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Her biggest strength had always been considered her versatility but in the 10,000m this summer, she looks to have emerged as a true master of the gruelling discipline.

She also scooped 5000m silver in Birmingham and will compete in the shorter distance once again in European Championship action this week.

In Munich on Monday, she delivered a bold display but was simply unable to live with Can – of Kenyan descent but who represents Turkey – who proved too hot to handle on the German track.

Harrison and Judd, both 27, finished sixth and 10th at Munich’s 1972 Olympic Stadium and were visibly feeling the effects towards the back end of the content.

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McColgan’s medal marked Britain’s first of the athletics programme in this week’s revamped multi-sport event on the opening day of competition on Monday.

Elsewhere, Neil Gourley says his European Championship 1500m heat crystallised his race plan for the final after keeping his hopes of a medal alive in Munich.

The Glasgow star, 27, safely navigated his way through to Thursday night’s showdown by finishing fourth out of 14 runners on Monday evening.

Gourley clocked a rock-solid time of 3:38.07 in the city’s iconic 1972 Olympic Stadium but found himself consistently impeded and struggling for fluency as Michał Rozmys stormed to victory.

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Italian and Spanish stars Pietro Arese and Mario Garcia finished second and third and Gourley, a former European Under-23 bronze medallist, admits he learnt some crucial lessons against the trio ahead of Thursday’s climax under the lights.

He said: “I felt a little sluggish out there tonight.

“It was verging on those moments not to panic – I was giving myself a lot to do.

“I knew some gaps would open up but you don’t want to leave yourself that far back.

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“I had a lot to do – every single move I made I felt like somebody blocked it.

“I’d been there before so I just had to stay patient. I knew that I had wheels to burn in the last 200m.

“In the final I’m going to have to run it differently because I’m not going to do that again.

“A bit of a fight is a fair way to describe it. It wasn’t how I drew it up, I made some mistakes in there without a doubt, but I knew if I was patient, some room would open up for me to close.

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“It just about did and I took advantage of a slim gap.

“I made enough mistakes that I put myself in a position where I had no choice but to come from behind and chance the gaps when they arrived. The worst thing you can do in those moments is panic. I managed to avoid doing that.”

Gourley donned the Team Scotland jersey at this summer’s Commonwealth Games and finished eighth in the 1500m at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium as Australian Ollie Hoare stunned Gourley’s fellow Scot and world champion Jake Wightman.

Two weeks before, Gourley had been eliminated in the World Championships semi-finals in Oregon so knew coming to Munich represented his last chance saloon.

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But he pulled off a gutsy run on Monday evening to beat British teammate Matt Stonier to the final automating qualifying spot – Stonier did qualify as a fastest loser – and secure his spot in the final.

Gourley will now have two days to recover and hopes a period of rest and refuelling can fire him towards the podium at the German multi-sport bonanza.

He added: “I had the goal of running in three championships this year.

“I thought I had a good chance of doing well of all three of them – I’m putting everything into this one to see if I can get something out of it.

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“I need these two days off now.

“But I wouldn’t have done this if I thought I was completely flat and had nothing left to give.”

The athletics programme kicked off on Monday and elsewhere, Scottish marathon runner Luke Caldwell had a morning to forget on the streets of Munich.

He was unable to complete the men’s race as teammates Philip Sesemann, Mohamud Aadan, Andrew Davies and Andrew Heyes grabbed a seventh-place team finish overall.

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Sesemann finished 17th to lead the British team home as German favourite Richard Ringer won the race ahead of Israeli duo Maru Teferi and Gashau Ayale.

Polish star Aleksandra Lisowska triumphed in the women’s contest as Britain’s women finished sixth overall at Munich’s historic Odeonsplatz square.

The multi-sport European Championships Munich 2022, featuring Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Rowing, Sport Climbing, takes place 11th-21st August on the 50th anniversary of the Olympics Games in the German city. Watch daily live coverage across BBC One, Two, Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website