Heyward, Sawyers and McColgan grab European medals on a thrilling evening in Munich

Jake Heywood euro silver 2022 1500

Jake Heyward surged to 1500m silver as Eilish McColgan and Jazmin Sawyers  added brilliant 5,000m and long jump bronzes to the British medal tally on the fourth evening of European Championships action in Munich.

After a rain-delayed start, Heyward (handicap -6.8) produced a polished performance to claim his first senior medal in the men’s 1500m, finishing behind world silver medallist Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR) in 3:34.44.

Ingebrigtsen led the race from almost gun to tape, splitting the field up at the bell with a big surge, with Heyward well poised for a medal in fourth spot.

He made his move with 200m to go, sitting on the shoulder of Mario Garcia (ESP) and picking him off on the home straight, powering to silver behind the Norwegian, who clocked a championship record of 3:32.76.

Reflecting on his first senior medal, Heyward said: “The race went how I expected it to go, I knew Jakob was probably going to string it out at some point so that is why I tracked him. I stayed patient and obviously winning a silver medal is an incredible achievement. But I am disappointed that I couldn’t go with him and push him for the gold. He almost ran a separate race.

“You don’t want to be too aggressive in these types of races. I tried to do that on Monday and almost didn’t qualify for the final. I did similar in Birmingham (for Commonwealths) but I didn’t feel as good today as I did last week.

“On Monday I was ill, and I’ve got better in the last 72 hours but I still wasn’t right today. You just know as an athlete where your body is at. It’s disappointing because I genuinely think I’m at the level to push Jakob.”

Matthew Stonier (handicap -6.7) finished strongly in the final 200m and cut the tape fifth in 3:35.97, with Neil Gourley (handicap -6.9) eighth in 3:38.40.

After grabbing silver in the women’s 10,000m earlier in the week, McColgan (handicap -4.2) added the bronze medal to her championship haul with a strong performance, stopping the clock in 14:59.34.

A steady pace early on saw the field well bunched until Turkey’s Yasemin Can stepped the pace up with six laps to go, followed by McColgan, with Amy-Eloise Markovc (handicap -2.8) and Calli Thackery (handicap -3.1) sitting in the chasing pack.

As Can faded, Konstanze Klosterhalfen (GER) took her chance and surged to gold, with McColgan holding her form down the home straight to take third, with Markovc and Thackery claiming fifth and sixth spot respectively in 15:08.75 and 15:08.79 respectively.

McColgan said afterwards: “Everyone thought I was mad wanting to do the double or three, but I’ve got four medals and four medals more than I did at the start of the year and I’m just so proud. Of course I’d love to win a European title but it was always going to be a tough ask after the Commonwealth Games.

“We have another two years until the Europeans and I’m sure there’ll be another gold there one day, but a silver and a bronze, I had nothing else today. I was looking around thinking ‘I just need to get to the line and not lose this medal’. I’m very tired but proud.”

World and Commonwealth finalist Sawyers saved her best until last to secure herself a spot on the European rostrum for the first time in six years, jumping out to 6.80m (1.0) in round six for bronze.

Sawyers’ first leap of the competition of 6.69m (2.1) had her in fourth position heading into the final round, trailing Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk by seven centimetres. It all came together for Sawyers when it mattered with an 11cm improvement to move up into third spot.

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