27th March 2020


This week marks the start of a series of flash backs to memorable British moments in the sport over the past decade. Here week one concludes with how the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow went from being spectacular to record breaking.

After the drama of the first two days, there were medals and records at every single turn on a glittering final night as golden girls Laura Muir and Shelayna Oskan-Clarke led the British team to a record-breaking haul of 12.

Muir completed a feat no one else had ever managed as gold in the women’s 1500m sealed a European indoor double-double while Oskan-Clarke showed her strength to dominate the women’s 800m final and cruise to the title.

A succession of silvers completed the record haul as Holly Bradshaw produced close to her best in a gripping women’s pole vault final while Jamie Webb achieved something no other Brit had done on the European indoor stage for close to 30 years in the men’s 800m.

Tim Duckworth showed he is a class heptathlete – GB & NI’s best ever at this event – while Laviai Nielsen, Zoey Clark, Amber Anning and Eilidh Doyle combined in impressive fashion in the final event of the Championships, the women’s 4x400m relay, to set the record breaking tally of 12.

With gold in the 3000m already secured, Muir was immovable at the front of the field from the very start of the 1500m final and, with the backing of the sell-out crowd, 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, Poland’s Sofia Ennaoui grow. A relentless final 200m saw Muir romp to a historic gold on her home track, stopping the clock in 4:05.92 – the margin of victory some three and a half seconds.

Oskan-Clarke ensured a second gold of the night and fourth for the British team in Glasgow with an utterly dominant gun to tape run in the women’s 800m final. Asserting her authority on the race from the very beginning, Oskan-Clarke, a silver medallist from the last European indoors in 2017, 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 of France 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.

An athlete with one of the best views in the house for races on the track, and very much in the form of her life at the time, Bradshaw headed into the pole vault final ranked second in Europe and aiming for another major international medal following European outdoor bronze the previous summer.

Entering at 4.55m and going over first time, a second-time success at 4.65m was followed by first-time success at 4.75m to all but guarantee a podium place for the second consecutive European Championships.

Guaranteed silver due to herself and Anzhelika Sidorova being the only two athletes to go clear at 4.75m – each at the first time of asking – Bradshaw was left to vault it out at 4.80m and beyond.

Having to make the decision to move up in height to attempt 4.85m due to Sidorova sailing over 4.80m first-time, it was one that didn’t pay off this time out as three failures confirmed the order of the podium, with Bradshaw proudly claiming silver at her first European Indoor Championships since 2013.

Heading into the final full of confidence following top-two finishes in both his heat and semi-final, Webb 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.

He was rewarded with a magnificent personal best of 1:47.13 and 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.

Heading into the evening in the silver medal position in the heptathlon following a strong conclusion to day one and a good showing in the pole vault earlier in the day, Duckworth knew there was still work to do with just the 1000m remaining in his heptathlon campaign.

Not known for his endurance strength, Duckworth produced when it was required as a seven-second personal best run of 2:44.44 scored 771 points and cemented his hold on silver to ensure the pain of the seventh and final event of the weekend was entirely worth it – scoring 6156 overall, and making history in becoming the first-ever British heptathlon medallist at the European Indoor Championships sounded good.

Winners of silver at the last edition of the Championships in Belgrade, a strong-looking quartet of Nielsen, Clark, Anning and Doyle lined up for the final event, the women’s 4x400m relay, with a medal in their sights once more.

Taking the stagger out of Belgium early doors, Nielsen put the team straight into bronze and maintained the position come handing over to Clark. Bursting into the silver medal position almost immediately and only showing sign of tiring come the final 50m, the Scot clung on to second before passing to senior debutant Anning with less than half of the race to go.

Showing no sign of panicking in the Championship environment, Anning appeared serene as she coasted round her two laps while fending off Italy, with a roar erupting as she handed over to home-favourite Doyle who was tasked with running down leaders Poland and keeping Italy at bay.

Eating up the metres on the reigning champions Poland, Doyle just ran out of track as Poland snatched gold in a repeat of the one-two from two years ago as the British quartet clocked 2:29.55 to Poland’s 3:28.77, with the medal bringing the curtain down on Britain’s most-successful showing at the Championships.

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

Gold (4):

Katarina Johnson-Thompson – Pentathlon

Laura Muir – 1500m

Laura Muir – 3000m

Shelayna Oskan-Clarke – 800m

Silver (6):

Holly Bradshaw – Pole Vault

Tim Duckworth – Heptathlon

Niamh Emerson – Pentathlon

Chris O’Hare – 3000m

Jamie Webb – 800m

4x400m – Women

Bronze (2):

Melissa Courtney – 3000m

Asha Philip – 60m