By Nilesh Patel
- Asha Philip and Richard Kilty secure gold in 60m finals
- 24-year-old, Andrew Pozzi, wins his first European indoor gold in 60m Hurdles
- Shelayna Oskan- Clarke misses out on 800m gold in tight photo finish
BELGRADE, SERBIA – Laura Muir added two European indoor golds to her tally following first place finishes in the 1,500 and 3,000m finals, breaking Dame Kelly Holmes’ British Record.
Belgrade’s Kombank Arena played host to the 34th European Athletics Indoor Championships this weekend.
Over the three days, Belgrade greeted elite European athletes such as: Olympic high-jumper Ruth Beitia, twice European and World 400m indoor champion Pavel Maslak and world record holder in the women’s 60m hurdles Suzana Kalur.
Aside from our competitors, there was plenty of Britons writing headlines. Let’s see how they got on.
Muir’s record-breaking double
Laura Muir produced two fantastic runs as she took two golds in as many days in the 1,500 and 3,000m finals.
The Brit was on course to take two medals away from the championships after missing out in 2015’s European Indoor Championships, and last year’s Olympics.
Muir, 23, broke Dame Kelly Holmes’ British record and the championship record as she won her career first major title in the 1,500m. Having already set three European records this year, Muir pulled away from her competitors in the final two laps and won by more than 2 seconds, with team mate Sarah McDonald finishing sixth.
After a handful of disappointments, this medal would have felt a long time coming for the 23-year-old but she managed to astound the crowd the following day with a victory in the 3,000m.
Again the Scot eased away from the rest of the track to break the championship record in 8 minutes 35.68 seconds. In doing so, she became the first British athlete to win two European Indoor gold medals in individual events since Colin Jackson in Paris 1994. Also, the two triumphs add her to the exclusive list of runners to claim both the 1,500m and 3,000m titles in the same championship.
Another Scottish accomplishment was made in the 3,000m as Eilish McColgan finished 3rd to take home her first senior medal, while team-mate Steph Twell missed the podium coming in fifth
Watch as Muir side-steps an official for her well-earned lap of honour! (H/t Jonathan Gault)
“What do you mean I can’t do a victory lap?”
NO ONE CAN STOP LAURA MUIR pic.twitter.com/5nBuViZsk4
— Jonathan Gault (@jgault13) March 4, 2017
British double gold in men’s and women’s 60m sprints
Belgrade also welcomed success for 26-year-old Asha Philip, who won gold in the women’s 60m final, in a time of 7.06seconds.
After only setting the fourth fastest time in the semi-finals, Philip improved her form massively to achieve a European seasonal best time in her event.
The win makes her the first British winner of the event since Beverly Kinch at Gothenburg in 1984.
Richard Kilty’s road to gold, however, looked much simpler as he dominated the heats and didn’t show any sign of letting his form slip in the final.
With the presence of fellow Brit – Theo Etienne – Kilty secured gold, successfully defending his title from two years ago. While Etienne took fifth place in his senior debut, it was Andy Robertson who missed out on competing for the podium after being disqualified for a false start.
Successes in men’s 60m hurdles, high jump and women’s long jump
Andrew Pozzi headlined Britain’s action on Friday with a first place finish in the 60m hurdles.
The 24-year-old was another of the British contingent to claim their first senior medal in Belgrade, with a hurdle time of 7.51seconds.
The Bristol boy qualified with the fastest time heading into the final but trailed out of the blocks at the start of the final. Pozzi made up ground on his French counterpart – Pascal Martinot-Lagarde – in the last half of the race and edged him out at the finish line by 0.01 seconds.
The race was a thrilling one and required Pozzi to overcome the mental setback his numerous injuries would have given him. Pozzi will not only gain confidence from his win but by the support aimed towards him on social media.
Former women’s 400m sprinter Katharine Merry tweeted:
So so so delighted for one of the nicest Men in T&F… injuries battled… you bloody star @andrew_pozzi 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻😘 CHAMPION 🎉
— Katharine Merry (@KatharineMerry) March 3, 2017
While, fellow British sprinting prodigy Adam Gemili tweeted his support for Pozzi:
FIRST GOLD FOR GB!!!@andrew_pozzi European Champion you are my hero. London is going to be amazing for him🏅🇬🇧🙌
— Adam Gemili (@Adam_Gemili) March 3, 2017
Elsewhere on the final day of the championship, Robbie Grabarz took silver in the men’s high jump after losing a jump-off for gold against Poland’s Sylwester Bednarek.
Similarly, Lorraine Ugen also took silver in the women’s long jump claiming her second career long jump medal.
Shelayna Oskan- Clarke sparked interest in the 800m final after narrowly missing out on gold in a tight photo finish.
The 27-year-old, fought with reigning champion Selina Büchel throughout the race and often clashed elbows with the Swiss.
However, despite breaking the national record Oskan-Clarke finished just 0.01 seconds behind Büchel to claim silver.
19-year-old, Morgan Lake experienced a missed opportunity of announcing herself as a senior athlete in the women’s high jump final as she finished eighth in her event.
On the other end of the experience spectrum: Eilidh Doyle, 30, was heartbroken to miss out on the 400m final after being edged to third in the semi-final. Although, in the same event 20-year-old – Laviai Nielsen – agonisingly missed the podium in the final after being overtaken on the line.
Nevertheless, there was somewhat a resurrection for Nielsen and Doyle as they claimed silver in the 4x400m relay alongside Philippa Lowe and Mary Iheke. Coincidentally the foursome finished behind Poland who also topped the championship medal chart ahead of Great Britain after taking four golds on the final day.
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