Glorious Golds by Muir and Oskan-Clarke

Laura Muir Glasgow 2019

The final evening of action at the European Indoor Championships saw a record Great Britain & Northern Ireland team deliver spectacularly as golds from Laura Muir (handicap -2.7), Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (handicap -1.1) led the way. 

Winning six medals on the night, the British team finished the Championships second in the medal table with a best-ever haul at the event of 12 overall (4 gold, 6 silver, 2 bronze).

Bringing Glasgow’s Emirates Arena to its feet for the second time in three days, Muir lined up for the final of the 1500m with the ‘double-double’ of European Indoor middle distance titles – 1500m and 3000m – in her sights.

Immovable at the front of the field from the very start, the multi-medalled Scot had the backing of the sell-out crowd and controlled the pace of the race over the opening laps.

Gradually chipping away to build her lead, a surge in pace with 400m to go saw the gap between her and eventual silver-medallist Sofia Ennaoui (POL) grow, with a relentless final 200m seeing her romp to a historic gold on her home track, stopping the clock in 4:05.92, with the margin of victory some three and a half seconds.

Speaking post-race, the first ever double-double champion said: “I set myself a big test this weekend. There was a lot of pressure on me but I’m so pleased to have done the job and win the double gold.

“So much hard work has gone into this. People only see the race but so much has gone into making that possible. There is a huge team behind me led by my coach Andy, my therapists Derry, Cat and Poora, so I owe a big thank you to them."

“It’s so special for me to do this on my home track. It was such a big opportunity for me so I’m so glad I could deliver.”

Stockport based Ciara Mageean (handicap -2.4) also impressed with a bronze medal for Ireland.

Joining Muir in securing the highest step on the rostrum, an utterly dominant gun to tape run from Oskan-Clarke saw the Brit clinch 800m gold.

Asserting her authority on the race from the very beginning, the silver medallist from the last edition of the Championships charged to the front and led the field through 400m in 60.39, with a pursuit of the title well and truly on.

Holding off the dangerous Renelle Lamote (FRA) as she looked to come by several times, Oskan-Clarke fed off the noise from the home crowd to kick for home with 50m to go, with a brilliant run from gun to tape seeing her cross the line in 2:02.58 to claim the first major international title of her career.

“I’m just so pleased. I loved the feeling of crossing the finish line knowing I’d won gold,” commented an ecstatic Oskan-Clarke.

“I decided beforehand I wanted to go out and focus on getting out in front because I wanted it to be a bit quicker. I would then just work really hard on the third lap. I knew at 150m I just wanted to go, and remembered to pump my arms and turn my legs.

“I know I’m strong, but it is just about making the right moves at the right times. It’s hard indoors because if you don’t do that, it’s too late. I wanted to be out there early and hold on for home. I knew I’d have no regrets then.”

In the same race, and having surpassed her own personal expectations to the point she jokingly tweeted about running out of racing socks following qualification to the final, Mari Smith’s (handicap -1.1) memorable Championships continued as she finished fifth overall in a time of 2:03.45, the sixth-quickest time of her career.

Heading into the final full of confidence following top-two finishes in both his heat and semi-final, Jamie Webb (handicap -5.8) took the bull by the horns in the final of the men’s 800m and wasted little time in mixing it at the front of the seven-strong field.

Attacking down the inside with 300m to go and ‘running for gold’ as he stated he would do the day before, Webb held silver at the bell and dug in deep down the back straight with the intention of letting no-one by him as he charged for home down the home straight.

Rewarded with a hugely eye-catching silver medal – Great Britain & Northern Ireland’s best result in the men’s event for close to 30 years on the European indoor stage – Webb was unsurprisingly delighted. .

Webb said: “Everyone’s got opinions; I’ve learnt a lot and that I’ve just got to look after myself. People who think because I’m 23-24 going on 25, you’re not going to improve. But you are sort of a master of your own destiny, and I’ve got another six years of improvement.

Mark English from Ireland was an impressive bronze medal winner

In the 1500m, much of the attention was on Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR), Robbie Fitzgibbon (handicap -5.2) tucked into towards the back of the pack with the intention of moving through as the race progressed in the 1500m final. Keeping in touching distance of the field as they went through 2:06.37 courtesy of the young Norwegian, Fitzgibbon’s attempts to motor through over the closing stages were to no avail as he came home in eighth in a time of 3:47.08.

Having suffered with illness overnight, unfortunately Neil Gourley (handicap -5.8) who had been impressive in recent weeks, was unable to line up for the final having done so well to navigate his way to the event’s conclusion.

 British Athletics medal tally (12) – second in the medal table overall:

Gold (4):

Laura Muir – 1500m & 3000m    Shelayna Oskan-Clarke – 800m            Katarina Johnson-Thompson – Pentathlon

Silver (6):

Chris O’Hare – 3000m                         Jamie Webb – 800m                 4x400m – Women

Holly Bradshaw – Pole Vault               Tim Duckworth – Heptathlon     Niamh Emerson – Pentathlon

Bronze (2):

Melissa Courtney – 3000m                                Asha Philip – 60m


Complete report including field events via British Athletics