1st September 2017


Eilish McColgan (coach: Liz McColgan-Nuttall) continued her magnificent form of late by shattering the Scottish record over 5000m at the final IAAF Diamond League meeting of the season in Brussels, Belgium.

Having recently declared her intent to go sub-15:00 having come so close as she finished tenth in the final of the IAAF World Championships, McColgan dealt with many an issue in the opening stages of the race, coping well with the surges in pace following a sluggish start, before narrowly side-stepping around a fall from competitors directly in front of her.

Running her own race and ticking along strongly as the battle for the Diamond League trophy went on ahead of her, McColgan’s strong finish to the race saw her come home in a time of 14:48.49, a personal best by some 12 seconds and enough to lower the Scottish record by over three seconds, with the time also taking her to fourth on the UK all-time list behind Paula Radcliffe, Jo Pavey and Zola Budd.

Also running superbly on the night, Laura Weightman (Steve Cram) backed up her sixth place finish at the IAAF World Championships with another strong showing over 1500m. Led out by British track legend Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter), Weightman looked strong throughout, taking each phase of the race in her stride as those ahead of her jostled for the front.

With Faith Kipyegon and Sifan Hassan leading the charge for the win, the Morpeth athlete gritted her teeth to stride off the last bend in sixth place and looking good for a quick time. Only pipped to the position by the USA’s Jenny Simpson, Weightman claimed seventh place in 4:00.71, her second quickest time ever and the quickest she has produced since 2014.

Elsewhere, Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson) delivered a consistent series of jumps to finish second in a closely contested long jump competition, with compatriot Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) claiming sixth in the same competition.

Having struggled with registering legal jumps in the final of this summer’s IAAF World Championships, there were no such struggles this time around for Ugen, with jumps in the region of 6.50m-6.60m seeing her well in the mix for the Diamond trophy from the off. Both Ugen and Proctor’s bests would come in round five, with marks of 6.65m (+0.1) and 6.50 (-0.5) respectively good for the aforementioned finishing positions, with Ugen just 5cm down on winner Ivana Spanovic.

As the programme drew on, the opening senior track action saw Eilidh Doyle (Brian Doyle) line up for the decider of the 400m hurdles. Running from lane four, Doyle pushed out well and ran a strong 150m, with the USA’s Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammed going off like a rocket. Taking hurdles well but just without the closing speed required to be in the mix, Doyle was pipped to third by Ashley Spencer, forcing the Scot to settle for fourth in 55.04 to top off another season in which she has added silverware to her vast collection.

After a clearance of 4.70m last weekend in Germany, IAAF World Championships sixth placer Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson) started the pole vault with a wobble at 4.45m before going clear at the second time of asking. A smooth vault over 4.55m set her up nicely for further progress, only for three failures at 4.65m to then put pay to her progress in increasingly difficult vaulting conditions.

Also in field action, Morgan Lake (Fuzz Caan) went clear at 1.80m and 1.84m – the latter at the second attempt – before coming across a roadblock in 1.88m. Having cleared a personal best of 1.96m this season, the height was one she couldn’t overcome on the night, with three failures seeing her bow out of the competition.

The final event of the programme, Martyn Rooney (Graham Hedman) and Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams) – two of the 4x400m bronze winning quartet from this summer’s world championships – lined up for the non-Diamond League 400m. With both Britons running well following a long season, it was Rooney who looked the better of the two following a smooth charge down the back straight, only for compatriot Yousif to come good as the field came off the bend and into the home straight.

Motoring well to put the pressure on eventual victor Luguelin Santos, Yousif came through to take second in 46.10, with Rooney just showing signs of weariness a few metres back as he settled for third in 46.29.

Sprint action had earlier continued with the men’s 200m, a race which featured both Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Dennis Shaver) and Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills). Running from lanes seven and three respectively, Mitchell-Blake looked to have got out to a decent start only to fade as the field came off the bend, with Hughes fighting to stay in contention having contended with the sharp bend from his inside lane.

Ultimately, the quick pace of the leading trio – 20.02 would only be good for third on a wet evening -saw the British pair left back in sixth and seventh, with Hughes clocking 20.27 (+0.9) ahead of Mitchell-Blake in 20.33.

The lone Briton in the men’s 800m final, two-time British champion Elliot Giles (Jon Bigg) broke out from lane one to settle in behind the pack, with an unforgiving pace taking the field through 400m in 49.61. Trying to stick with the leaders down the back straight, the world championships semi-finalist found himself struggling to make up the ground, eventually coming home in 1:47.03. Middle distance action elsewhere saw Aldershot, Farnham & District athlete Adam Clarke (Geoff Watkin) clock 3:41.72 over 1500m, with the race won by Kenya’s world champion Elijah Manangoi.

In the men’s 100m, a non-Diamond League event, British interest came in the form of James Dasaolu (Lloyd Cowan) and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Benke Blomkvist). Running from lanes two and nine respectively, the pair claimed sixth and seventh with times of 10.24 (+0.2) and 10.27.

Highlights from the meeting will be broadcast on BBC One tomorrow at 13:15.