24th March 2020

Flashback to Glasgow 2019: Four in 15

This week marks the start of a series of flash backs to memorable British moments in the sport over the past decade. Week one takes us back just over a year and to three fabulous days in Glasgow at a record breaking European Indoor Championships.

With Laura Muir long a certainty to compete on home soil at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow, the confirmation from Katarina Johnson-Thompson that she would accept her invite in the pentathlon set up the prospect of a mouth-watering golden double on the very first day – and mouth-watering it proved to be.

The roaring Glasgow crowd were treated to four British medals in just 15 minutes as first Johnson-Thompson and Niamh Emerson sealed a dramatic one-two in the pentathlon and then Muir and Melissa Courtney-Bryant delivered a one-three in the 3000m.

Johnson-Thompson opened her campaign in the pentathlon with a season’s best 8.27m in the 60m hurdles before equalling the Championship best mark of 1.96m in the high jump – her best effort since her 1.98m British outdoor record at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The rich form continued in the final event of the morning session, the shot put, where she threw a one centimetre personal best of 13.15m for an overall score of 2989 and a comfortable lead. The evening session began for Johnson-Thompson with the long jump where she logged a decent 6.53m effort, the best of the field.

So often providing drama, the fifth and final event, the 800m, did exactly that but not for Johnson-Thompson who comfortably won in 2:09.13 to seal a second European indoor title with a world lead of 4983 points – but for teammate Emerson.

A solid 8.54 in the 60m hurdles as the first Brit to compete at the Championships, world junior champion Emerson secured an equal indoor personal best of 1.87m in the high jump and then produced a monster personal best throw of 13.93m in the shot put to bring a close to her morning’s action with her in third.

A final round indoor long jump personal best effort of 6.29m pushed the teenager up to second to set up a dramatic 800m finale – Emerson being ten points ahead of Latvian Laura Ikauniece in third.

Leaving every last ounce of energy on the track, Emerson dramatically fell across the line – at one stage it didn’t look like she would actually make it – stopping the clock at 2:12.56, and after what felt like an eternity, flashed up as confirmed for silver.

As if that wasn’t enough, the drama didn’t stop there – step forward Muir, and Courtney-Bryant.

The reigning double European indoor champion from 2017, Muir was attempting the same feat in Glasgow and before the 3000m final had to safely navigate the 1500m heats just two and a half hours before her first shot at gold.

Not that it showed as Muir showed an incredible turn of pace to leave Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen in her wake, splitting the last lap in 28.32 and clocking a Championship record 8:30.61 to become the first British female athlete to retain a European indoor title.

Klosterhalfen made a breakaway move with eight laps to go, taking Muir with her while Courtney-Bryant hung on as well. With 400m to go, the pace changed and Muir sealed the gold  while Courtney held off a fast finish from another German, Alina Reh, to take bronze in a lifetime best 8:38.22.