Final flourish for Muir – photo via British Athletics
Laura Muir emphatically confirmed her arrival on the global stage with a fine fifth-place finish in the World Champs in Beijing.
The 1500m runner was competing in her first final at this kind of level and faced a truly world class field in a race which featured a slow start and an explosive, rapid final 800m.
World record holder Genzebe Dibaba took the gold in 4.08.09 with Laura coming home in fifth place in 4.11.48 on a day when she beat two Americans and a former European indoor title holder.
It is being suggested Dibaba ran the final 800m in 1.57 which gives some idea of the burn-up!
At 22, the Scot from Kinross who runs for Dundee Hawkhill and Glasgow University finished strongly after being eighth around the last lap bell before proving emphatically that she has emerged stronger from her 2014 rollercoaster.
Laura, of course, re-wrote her own National record at the distance this season by becoming the first Scottish woman to run under four minutes and won a Diamond League 1500m in Oslo. She also set PBs at 3000m and 800m in a fine track season.
‘I’m really pleased – that was such a tough field I think any other year I probably would have medalled,’ said Muir, who beat the past two World champions in Abeda Aregawi (Moscow) and Jenny Simpson (Daegu).
‘To come fifth against that other competition I am really, really happy. I expected it to be hard – it’s a championship final. There are so many girls in there you don’t know who is going to do what, but I was prepared for a fast race or a slow race and I just worked on staying out of trouble.
I left last year so frustrated as I knew I could run so much better, but it’s great to have come here and have done well in the final.
‘This is the first time I’ve done three rounds, so to have got three and done them well, my preparation for next year is good.
‘You never know what anyone is going to do there were so many top girls in that race everyone was thinking who is going to do what, and it’s just trying to stay out of trouble and run as safe as I can, and keep an eye on the break when it happens.’
Well done to Laura, her family and coach Andy Young on a fine effort in Beijing.
Photo courtesy of British Athletics
Meanwhile, Muir’s sometimes GB room-mate, Eilidh Child, faces her second world Champs final oin Wednesday lunch-time (our time0.
Eilidh ran 54.80 in her semi-final to finish third on Tuesday but then faced an anxious wait to get through to the final. As it happened, the Scottish record holder was ranked 7 out of the 8 finalists following the three semi-final races.
It could take close or better than her 54.22 record to excel in a strong Beijing field – two years on from finishing fifth in Moscow.
‘It’s the worst way to qualify for a final – to be in the first semi-final, in the fastest losers spot and just having to sit and watch the other races,’ said Child.
‘I knew it was going to be a tough one, but I knew if I got close to the faster guys I’d run a fast time.
‘My hurdling was really messy – I clipped one, when a pair of us were trying to fight for it and it got a bit scrappy. Thankfully it’s enough to get into the final. It’ll be a rubbish lane but I’d rather be in a rubbish lane in the final then not be in it at all.
‘When I was watching I was just thinking ‘don’t run faster than me!’ I really wanted to see Meghan (Beesley) get through as well but not to the extent of knocking me out! It’s horrible waiting and watching but I have a day and a half now I can just switch off mentally and prepare for the final.’
With many thanks to Alex Ferguson and Liz Birchall of British Athletics in Beijing for comments from the athletes.