Photo by Mark Shearman
What a night for Eilish McColgan in Birmingham!
The Scot clinched her place at the third Olympics of her career with a sensational sprint finish win to claim the European 10,000m Cup at the University of Birmingham stadium on Saturday night.
Israeli athlete Selamawit Teferi had led the race for a long time before British pair McColgan and Jess Judd made inroads over the final 800m.
And, come the last lap and indeed the home straight, it was McColgan who came up with the finish to win the European and British titles in 31:19.21 from Teferi’s 31:19.50 with Judd also qualifying for the Olympics in 31:20.96.
Eilish competed in the steeplechase at London 2012 and then in the 5000m at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The Scot had come into the race as the only member of the British team to have gone under the Olympic qualifying standard of 31:25.00 and the home quartet of McColgan, Judd, Amy-Eloise Markovc and Verity Ockenden had allowed Teferi to pull away.
The Israeli was first through the halfway mark in 15:40.06, a four-second lead over the four Britons, and she established what had looked like being an unassailable lead. With Markovc and Ockenden having fallen back, Judd increased the pace entering the final kilometre, albeit still 15 seconds in arrears of Teferi.
McColgan went with her team-mate and, covering the closing 1000m in 2:51, including a final 200m of just under 31 seconds, surged through to take the win and secure an appearance at what will be her third Olympics, 30 years after her mother – and coach – Liz won the 10,000m world title in Tokyo.
‘She said don’t leave it to the last lap because you don’t want to miss out and it turns into a 400m race rather than a 10,000m,’ she said.
‘I did have that in the back of my mind so I just kept reminding myself to keep calm over the last couple of laps because training is going better than ever and then there’s a lot of pressure coming into this because when you are training so well.
‘You have one opportunity to try and knit it together on the day so I suppose there was a part of me that was like ‘don’t mess this up’. I’m absolutely buzzing.’
Many congratulations to Eilish, her family, and coach/mum Liz on a superb victory.
What a finish – Eilish McColgan runs a 64 last lap to claim victory in the last 30 metres to win in an Olympic qualifying 31:19.21 with Jess Judd also achieving a Tokyo qualifier 31:20.84 pic.twitter.com/FuBQTxS35i
— AW (@AthleticsWeekly) June 5, 2021
GB and NI duly topped the team standings, with Italy taking silver and Poland bronze.
Mhairi Maclennan, with an eye on the Scotland Commonwealth Games standard at 32:35.24, was 16th in that top race with a run of 33:02.71.
There were some fine performances in earlier races – with VP Glasgow athlete, Max Milarvie, taking a fine win in the Men’s C race. Max clocked a big PB of 29.22.91 to take first place and there were a couple of other Scots also under 30 minutes.
Dundee Hawkhill Harriers athlete James Donald was fourth in 29:35.54 and Andrew Fyfe of Edinburgh AC was seventh in 29:52.92. Jonny Glen of Inverclyde AC was 10th in 30:10.21.
Max Milarvie wins the first 10,000m of the night. pic.twitter.com/poQYDF7R82
— James Rhodes (@James_Athletics) June 5, 2021