Poland photo via IPC
By Peter Jardine, Head of Communications
Scottish Para star Maria Lyle claimed her seventh European title barely an hour after Eilidh Doyle announced her retirement from competitive athletics on Wednesday morning.
And the 21-year-old from Dunbar achieved her latest gold and Championship Record in a pair of Puma spikes gifted to her by the double Olympian earlier this year!
Doyle’s retirement commanded attention across the athletics public in Scotland and beyond.
Now we can confirm the perfect symmetry of her ‘handing the baton’ to the next generation and encouraging athletes of all disciplines in a story which neatly sums up what we call the #SALtogether spirit.
‘Maria was wearing a pair of spikes given to her by Eilidh Doyle,’ confirmed Lyle’s coach, Jamie Bowie, who is with the GB and NI team at the WPA Europeans in Bydgoszcz.
‘During lockdown earlier in the year, both were training at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow. We had been chatting and Maria was wearing Puma spikes.
‘Eilidh mentioned she had used to wear those ones but now was using a different model so offered those new spikes to Maria as a gift.’
200m European Champion! Very happy with today's run! Thanks for everyone's messages. A big thanks to @EilidhDoyle for the spikes and congratulations on an amazing athletics career 🙌🏼 pic.twitter.com/UXWJkdyvxX
— Maria Lyle ∞ (@Lyle_Maria) June 2, 2021
The story chimes perfectly with many of the comments made in the wake of Eilidh’s retirement announcement about her reputation as a standard-bearer for the sport in Scotland.
Lyle, for her part, has become one of GB’s most prolific medal-winning Para athletes and added to her own storied career in Poland.
Seven years on from a winning debut at 14, she secured her third European title in the women’s T35 200m final as she won in a Championship record of 30.75 (-3.4) on day two in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
The 21-year-old got off to a great start around the bend, leaving her opponents behind as she created a clear advantage heading into the home straight. The challenging headwind was an obstacle for the whole field, but the Scottish athlete finished strongly to secure the title.
‘I’m really pleased with that today,’ said Maria.
‘We’ve had a lot of GB success lately, obviously here on day one, but also at a lot of able-bodied Champs recently. So, I was really looking forward to getting out there on the track..
‘During the pandemic, everyone’s lives have been affected, not just athletes, so to be given the opportunity again to race and compete for your country is great and something we shouldn’t take for granted.
‘I think this experience has taught me that we should make the most of what we have and never say no to competing again.’
Maria is back in action in the 100m on Saturday.