Laura Muir on her way to winning the 1500m at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow (© Getty Images)
With a magnificent front-running performance – sealing a historic double-double at 1500m and 3000m – Scottish heroine Laura Muir (1500m world rank: 1) electrified the home crowd in Glasgow to provide a fitting climax to the European Indoor Championships on Sunday night (3).
In the 49-year history of the event, no one had accomplished two consecutive doubles at 1500m and 3000m, but Muir did not just complete that task – she did it with such astonishing ease that it seemed hers is a talent now poised to dominate at global level in the years ahead.
In the women’s 1500m final she stamped her class on the race from the outset, coasting at the front with her rivals too timid to try passing her. Instead they deferred to her dominance, Muir winding the pace up from 600 metres out, her rivals left with no answers as she powered home all alone in 4:05.92, four seconds clear of runner-up Sofia Ennaoui (1500m world rank: 6) of Poland (4:09.30). Ciara Mageean (1500m world rank: 17) from Ireland took the bronze in 4:09.43.
“I´m definitely going to sleep well tonight,” said Muir. “This was a big test this weekend and a lot of pressure. I am so happy that I could deliver. We set out to do just one event a few months ago and then we thought why not go for the double. I never thought I’d have another chance to do that in Glasgow and to do it on my own track is special.”
The good times continued to roll for the hosts in the women’s 800m, Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (800m world rank: 18) kicking to victory in 2:02.58 ahead of Renelle Lamote (800m world rank: 10) of France (2:03.00) and Olha Lyakhova (800m world rank: 20) of Ukraine (2:03.24).
“I decided beforehand that I wanted to just focus and go to the front and at the end I had to keep pumping my arms and turning my legs,” said Oskan-Clarke. “I was just pleased to get over the finish line.”
There was an upset in the men’s 1500m, where the dominance of Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen (1500m world rank: 8) was halted by Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski (1500m world rank: 13), the Pole reversing placings from last year’s European outdoor final and scoring one for the (sort of) older guys. The 31-year-old powered past the 18-year-old Ingebrigtsen at the bell and never relinquished the lead, coming home a well-deserved champion in 3:42.85 to the Norwegian’s 3:43.23. Spain’s Jesus Gomez (1500m world rank: 31) took bronze.
“Every result I have achieved is thanks to my heart, I always rely on my heart,” said Lewandowski. “I have achieved my plan 100 percent.”
Spain’s Alvaro de Arriba (800m world rank: 16) was a class apart in the men’s 800m, no one able to live with his pace on the final lap as he came home alone in 1:46.83, Jamie Webb (800m world rank: 31) of Britain taking silver in 1:47.13 with Mark English of Ireland taking bronze in 1:47.39. “Everything just went spectacular,” said De Arriba. “People who know me know perfectly everything I have been through. I am so grateful.”
Ureña takes heptathlon crown
The gold rush continued for Spain in the men’s heptathlon, Jorge Ureña (decathlon world rank: 42) going one better than the silver he won in 2017 with his final tally of 6218, a world lead. That denied Britain’s Tim Duckworth (decathlon world rank: 11) who was runner-up with 6156, while neutral athlete Ilya Shkurenyov (decathlon world rank: 7) took the bronze with 6145.
Ureña unleashed a furious kick to leave his rivals training in the concluding 1000m, clocking 2:44.27. Earlier in the day he put himself firmly in command with a 5.20m clearance in the pole vault and a clocking of 7.78 in the 60m hurdles. Given his superiority in the final five-lap event, he felt the full pressure to deliver the gold.
“I was really nervous, but I received huge help from my family, friends and fans cheering from the tribunes. I was hearing their voices and that was pushing me forward,” said Ureña. “This is wonderful.”
Mariya Lasitskene (high jump world rank: 1) continued her dominance in the women’s high jump, the neutral athlete soaring over 2.01m to take victory over Ukraine’s Yuliya Levchenko (high jump world rank: 3), who jumped 1.99m, and Lithuania’s Airine Palsyte (high jump world rank: 13), who cleared 1.97m. It was Lasitskene’s second European indoor title, coming four years after her first gold in Prague.
“What I like about high jumping is battling in competitions and being the best,” said Lasitskene. “I felt it was a very good performance in a great atmosphere.”
Azerbaijan won a rare gold medal in the men’s triple jump, Nazim Babayev (triple jump world rank: 27) soaring out to a PB of 17.29m to deny rivals Nelson Evora (triple jump world rank: 6) of Portugal and Max Hess (triple jump world rank: 16) of Germany. Evora claimed silver with 17.11m while Hess was just behind with 17.10m.
“My dream has come true,” said Babayev. “I trained hard for this moment – six months of training for this one competition, this one night. And I did it.”
Dutch athlete Nadine Visser (100m hurdles world rank: 8) vindicated her decision to step away from combined events with her first major title in the women’s 60m hurdles, the 24-year-old a class apart when winning in 7.87, a European lead. Germany’s Cindy Roleder (100m hurdles world rank: 11) was next best with 7.97 while Belarus’s Elvira Herman (100m hurdles world rank: 10) claimed bronze in 8.00.
“I was really nervous but I’m used to dealing with that,” said Visser. “This means the world to me.”
Milan Trajkovic (110m hurdles world rank: 15) edged victory in the men’s 60m hurdles, the 26-year-old Cypriot claiming the first major title of his career in 7.60. France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (110m hurdles world rank: 4) was just denied in second with 7.61, while his compatriot Aurel Manga (110m hurdles world rank: 17) took the bronze in 7.63.
“I hit two barriers very, very hard when I was running, and I took a tiny look to my right while finishing and there were just too many bodies around, so I lay on the ground annoyed at myself,” said Trajkovic. “Then I saw my name on the board and thought, ‘oh, cool’.”
Neutral athlete Anzhelika Sidorova (pole vault world rank: 3) was best in the women’s pole vault with 4.85m ahead of Britain’s Holly Bradshaw (pole vault world rank: 7) and Greece’s Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou (pole vault world rank: 6), who cleared 4.75m and 4.65m respectively. “It´s not simple at a European championships to win, so this means a lot,” said Sidorova.
World leads for long jump winners
Ivana Spanovic (long jump world rank: 5) soared out to a world-leading leap of 6.99m to take her third straight gold in the women’s long jump, the Serbian waiting until the fifth round to stamp her supremacy. It denied Nastassia Mironchyk-Ivanova (long jump world rank: 12) who had to settle for silver with a PB of 6.93m while Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk (long jump world rank: 11) took bronze with 6.84m.
“I came here for first position and I wasn’t going to leave happy any other way,” said Spanovic. “I knew I could make seven metres easily, but I made a lot of mistakes. I kept waiting and waiting, but in the end I didn’t need it.”
Earlier in the day, a women’s triple jump final of impressive calibre was the standout event. Spain’s Ana Peleteiro (triple jump world rank: 5) claimed gold with a national record of 14.73m. Greece’s Paraskevi Papahristou (triple jump world rank: 7) set a PB in second with 14.50m, while Ukraine’s Olga Saladukha (triple jump world rank: 20) took bronze with a season’s best of 14.47m.
“It's so special,” said Peleteiro, whose nickname is Kangaroo Girl. “After two foul jumps, my coach (Ivan Pedroso) said, ‘just do it’ and then I knew I could do it. It was difficult, especially in my head, but I told myself: ‘just enjoy it’.”
Greece’s Miltiadis Tentoglou (long jump world rank: 8) added the European indoor title to the outdoor crown he won last year in the men’s long jump, the 20-year-old announcing himself as a genuine contender at global level with victory in a world-leading 8.38m, which was also a Greek record.
That arrived in the fifth round, which saw him demote Sweden’s Thobias Nilsson Montler (long jump world rank: 9) – the longtime leader with 8.17m – to second. Serbia’s Strahinja Jovancevic (long jump world rank: 59) claimed the bronze with a national record of 8.03m.
“I knew I could jump well but I just needed to find my rhythm and get my run-up right,” said Tentoglou. “Finally I did that with my fifth jump.”
Radoslava Mavrodieva (shot put world rank: 13) broke new ground in the women’s shot put to upset favourites Christina Schwanitz (shot put world rank: 2) and Anita Marton (shot put world rank: 10), giving Bulgaria more cause for celebration on its national day. Mavrodieva, 31, went one better than the silver she won in 2017 via her fifth-round effort of 19.12m, demoting Germany’s Schwanitz to silver with her best of 19.11m. Marton had to settle for bronze with a best effort of 19.00m.
“This medal is for all the Bulgarians who supported me. It was about time I got first place,” said Mavrodieva. “I have hoped for this title for many years.”
Poland reigned supreme in the women’s 4x400m, their quartet of Anna Kielbasinka, Iga Baumgart-Witan, Malgorzata Holub-Kowalik and Justyna Swiety-Ersetic a class apart from the outset, coming home clear winners in 3:28.77 ahead of Britain (3:29.55) and Italy (3:31.90).
Belgium won a thrilling men’s 4x400m in 3:06.24 ahead of Spain, who produced a national record in second with 3:06.32. France took third with 3:07.71. Julien Watrin was the sole non-Borlee on the Belgian quartet, joining brothers Dylan, Jonathan and Kevin to seal a memorable gold.
Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF