31st August 2018
MAGNIFICENT MUIR WINS DIAMOND LEAGUE TITLE IN BRUSSELS
The best year of Laura Muir’s (coach: Andy Young) career reached even greater heights in Brussels as she was crowned the IAAF Diamond League champion in the 1500m following a near-perfect race at the Belgian season finale.
Muir began the year with 1500m silver and 3000m bronze at the IAAF World Indoor Championships on home soil in Birmingham in March and then at the showpiece event of the summer, the European Championships in Berlin, she cantered to gold in the 1500m.
But with the Diamond League 1500m title still on the 2018 wish list in Brussels, the 25-year-old, who completed a full-time veterinary degree earlier this year, grabbed the opportunity with both hands to ensure there was a British winner this year.
Meanwhile, after close efforts from Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie) and Matthew Hudson-Smith (Lance Brauman) in Zurich, Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) came agonisingly close herself, second in the long jump, while Reece Prescod (Jonas Dodoo) and Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman) were both fourth.
Lynsey Sharp (Terrence Mahon) was the pick of three British athletes in action in non-Diamond League events, claiming a fantastic win in the 800m as the sole athlete to break the two-minute barrier in taking victory in 1:59.93.
Muir hogged the British headlines in Brussels with a brilliant run, keeping close enough to Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay, who set out behind the pacemaker early on, before choosing to take to the front at the start of the final lap.
She would not be caught on the final circuit, powering down the home straight to take victory in 3:58.49 and become Britain’s only Diamond League champion of 2018. Muir was joined on the start line by European bronze medallist in the distance Laura Weightman (Steve Cram), who placed ninth.
Muir said: “It was very heavy and even my arms were full of lactic acid but on the other side I felt very good at the same time. The positioning, I have learnt from my mistakes from the past. I did not want to go too fast in the first half.”
Fellow European bronze medallist Proctor missed out achieving the same feat as Muir by just ten centimetres as Caterine Ibarguen added the women’s long jump title to the triple jump crown she leapt to 24 hours earlier in Zurich.
Proctor kept Ibarguen honest with a 6.65m third effort with the Columbian hitting 6.74m in the same round. Ibarguen would improve to 6.80m next time while Proctor improved to 6.70m with her penultimate jump in settling for second.
The first event of the evening in Brussels with British interest, Proctor was joined by teammates Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson) and Jazmin Sawyers (Brauman). Ugen placed sixth with a best of 6.53m while Sawyers was ninth with 6.33.
Proctor said: “I’m slightly disappointed to not have won the competition because I wanted it so badly. However I gave it my best, I fought and in the end 6.70m is a good result for me. I am very consistent in my jumps the whole season and I won two international medals this year.”
Like the 1500m, the men’s 100m also contained two Brits and was eagerly anticipated after the last race at the Muller Grand Prix Birmingham. Prescod was second on that occasion to Christian Coleman and would finish fourth as the world indoor champion took victory in a world lead 9.79.
European silver medallist Prescod still went under ten seconds, the fourth time doing so this year, in clocking 9.99 for fourth while the reigning Diamond League champion CJ Ujah (Stuart McMillan) posted 10.17 for seventh place.
Wightman, a European and Commonwealth bronze medallist in the 1500m this year, was in the 800m Diamond League final in Brussels after some impressive performances and produced a strong race to finish fourth in 1:45.96.
Adam Hague (Trevor Fox) was the other Brit in action in a Diamond League event in Brussels and placed ninth in the men’s pole vault. Hague set a new personal best 5.65m at the European Championships earlier this month and was ninth after clearing 5.53m in Belgium.
Sharp was the only athlete in the 800m to have gone under two minutes this season and her class proved as she won in 1:59.93. European bronze medallist Meghan Beesley (Michael Baker) was fourth in the 400m hurdles in 56.15 while Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams) was fifth in the 400m in 46.72.
Sharp said: “Even though it wasn’t a Diamond League race, I am very satisfied about the victory. I haven’t been here since 2014 and it is still one of my favourite meetings. The pacemaker was good but I had to take charge. My legs were in good shape and it was great to achieve that kind of victory.”