Determination: Laura Muir sets a new National record at 1500m in Monaco (photo by Alex Barr)
Scotland’s elite athletes hit a rich run of form over an amazing 24-hour period for the sport in this country.
Laura Muir led the way in Monaco on Friday evening with a new National Record for the 1500m as she became the first Scottish woman to break the four-minute barrier.
Mark Dry followed that up in Loughborough by landing a second qualification standard for Beijing with the hammer thrower now set to make his first appearance at a World Championships next month.
British 5000m champion Steph Twell then pitched in with her second standard to ink her heart-warming passport back to the big time in terms of track and field champs.
And Chris O’Hare is firmly knocking on the door for Beijing, too, with his PB run at 1500m inside GB qualifying standard as he reached 3.34 for the 1500m.
As the dust settled on those Senior performances, the Juniors were in hot pursuit and Josh Kerr was named European U20 champion at 1500m in Eskilstuna, Sweden, and George Evans won a bronze medal at the World Youths in Cali, Colombia, in the discus. (We plan to report those Champs in separate articles).
Let’s start with Laura’s run of 3.58.66 in the Diamond League in Monaco in the south of France on Friday evening.
The British champion finished fifth in the race as Genzebe Dibaba broke the world record with an amazing 3.50 run. Laura for her part went below four minutes for the first time as she improved on the record she set herself last year in Paris.
It is a huge compliment to the athlete’s hard work and the coaching of Andy Young – with the vet student of course resident in Glasgow and based in Scotland for the majority of her training.
Muir is now second on the British all-time list with only Dame Kelly Holmes having run the 1500m faster!
Laura said on Twitter: ‘Don’t know what to say other than . . . 3.58.66!!!! Ahh. Thanks for all the messages.’
Mark Dry of course set a Scottish National record in the hammer early in the season at the Loughborough international when he posted his first qualification standard for the World Champs.
With a second place at the Trials, Mark thus needed a second standard to rubber-stamp his claim for Beijing selection. He did just that with a throw of 76.56m at Loughborough on Saturday.
Despite losing out to Italian Marco Lingua who threw 78.29m, Dry was thrilled: ‘I’m absolutely delighted – it was a good day at the office! I’ve been stressing about getting another standard since trials, which isn’t the best place to throw.
‘I know I’m comfortable throwing here – it’s a quick circle, there’s a tailwind so it’s perfect conditions and if I didn’t do it today I was going to struggle to do it anywhere else. I knew I could be close, as I know I’m in good shape, but I was never going to get a better shot than today.
‘To not crumble and actually back it up [my first A standard] is great and it was actually my biggest ever series as I threw a whole bunch of 75s and one 76. It’s such a big weight off my shoulders – I feel about 40 kilos lighter!’
Chris Bennett was third in the competition with a throw beyond 74m.
Belgium was the venue for the Heusden meeting and what a night it was for Steph Twell.
The British champion at 5000m already had one World champs standard (under 15.20) banked from an early season run in America. And she followed that up with another at 15.14.39 to effectively book her slot for Beijing.
That’s thrilling for Steph and her many supporters after missing out on the London Olympics in 2012 through injury, a couple of European Championships and competing at the Commonwealth Games while not at full fitness.
Read our recent blog from Steph on how much it will mean to be back in Beijing after two previous visits in her career.
Chris O’Hare was in Heusden, as well, and clocked a fine PB of 3.34.82 with victory in his 1500m heat.
With second place in Birmingham a couple of weeks ago, the European bronze medallist will look to nail down a World Champs place with a second standard at the London Anniversary Games.
Watch an interview with Chris online