14th August 2020
MUIR BREAKS BRITISH RECORD; WIGHTMAN & WEIGHTMAN MOVE SECOND ALL-TIME IN MONACO
European champion Laura Muir set a new British record and fellow world finalists Jake Wightman and Laura Weightman both impressively moved to second on the all-time UK lists on a fine night for British athletes with six setting personal bests at the Monaco Diamond League.
Muir (Andy Young; Dundee Hawkhill) fought back in a British battle with training partner Jemma Reekie (Young; Kilbarchan) in the 1000m in Monaco, charging down the home straight to post 2:30.82 for second and finally better Dame Kelly Holmes’ previous mark.
Wightman (Geoff Wightman; Edinburgh) himself stormed past British legends Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett and Steve Cram in the 1500m rankings as he clocked 3:29.47 for third in a blistering 1500m, moving from seventh all-time in the UK to second with a personal best of more than two seconds.
And Weightman (Steve Cram; Morpeth) took it to her rivals in the 5000m, digging deep and hanging in there with a fine race to overtake Jo Pavey in the British rankings and now sit just behind Paula Radcliffe with a 14:35.44 effort for third in the race.
In the same 1000m Reekie was the sixth British athlete on the night to set a personal best with her 2:31.11 placing her fourth while Kyle Langford (Jon Bigg; Shaftesbury Barnet) recorded 1:44.83 in the 800m and Andrew Pozzi (Santiago Antunez; Stratford) equalled his 13.14 career best in the 110m hurdles.
In a race paced by Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Derek Thompson; Windsor Slough Eton Hounslow), Muir and Reekie went toe-to-toe with Faith Kipyegon, the latter pressing her case against the Kenyan down the back straight on the last lap.
Muir held on however and passed her training partner at the final bend and with a surge towards the line, finally got the better of Holmes’ British 1000m record as she crossed the line 2:30.82 to cap a great night for British athletes. Reekie was unable to hold on to third but should still be proud of her race for fourth and personal best.
Muir said: “It was so great to be back. I’ve raced once already, but it was a very small meet, so to come here to race in such a great field and the crowd’s response has been really, really nice.
“Jemma Reekie and I were working really hard out of lockdown and pushing one another really hard, so even though we didn’t have many competitions, we were still motivated to push each other on and run well and you’ve seen that in these last couple of races we’ve been running really well.
“Racing that time gives me a lot of confidence going into an Olympic year. To do that in my second run, to run a British record I’m really, really pleased with it and it’s just great to be back racing and am just excited for next year.”
After three personal bests from his British teammates up to that point, the fourth from Wightman was arguably the most impressive as his blistering run in the 1500m pushed him from seventh on the all-time UK list to second.
Despite an extremely fast start thanks to the pacemakers, Wightman look cool and controlled all the way round and charged home to clock 3:29.47 for third in the race but leapfrogging the likes of Coe, Ovett and Cram in the British rankings.
Only Sir Mo Farah is now ahead of Wightman with teammate Charlie Da’Vall Grice (Jon Bigg; Brighton Phoenix), who himself went into third in the all-time UK rankings with a great run in Monaco last year, clocking 3:34.63 for eighth in his first outdoor race of the season.
It was clearly going to be one of those nights as Weightman was the third British athlete in succession to hit career best heights as she lined up with Eilish McColgan (Liz Nuttall; Dundee Hawkhill) in the 5000m.
After a fairly slow start, Weightman took to the front to push the pace on with six laps to go and was part of a breakaway four. The pace did increase though and Weightman’s chances of a top-three finish were boosted when double world champion Sifan Hassan stepped aside after 4000m.
Hellen Obiri and Letesenbet Gidey then pulled away from Weightman – the former winning in a world lead 14:22.12 – however the Brit stuck to her guns and hung in there to take almost ten seconds off her personal best.
Weightman clocked 14:35.44 for third, starting 2020 as she ended 2019 at the World Championships with a personal best and moving into second on the all-time UK list, while McCoglan – also in her first track race of the year – placed seventh 14:57.37.
Pozzi took to the start line completely unbeaten – indoors and out – in 2020, running his best times 2017, and he got off to a great start as the first Brit in action, immediately in contention to keep it that way.
World bronze medallist from Doha Orlando Ortega finished strong though and just pipped Pozzi at the line however it was a fine run from the reigning world indoor champion as he clocked an equal personal best 13.14 for second.
And, as if Pozzi’s start wasn’t good enough, minutes later Commonwealth silver medallist Langford took to the track and outright smashed his own personal best in what was his opening race of the 2020 season.
With American world champion Donavan Brazier leading the way, Langford ran his own race and relied on his trademark kick down the home straight to clock a new personal best 1:44.83, taking 0.14 off, for fifth overall.
Adam Gemili (Rana Reider; Blackheath & Bromley) lined up for his first 200m since that agonising fourth at the World Championships in Doha and was the best of the rest from a British perspective as he placed fourth in the 200m, clocking 20.68.
Elsewhere, world heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Bertrand Valcin; Liverpool) chose to take on the high jump in Monaco – her first time competing in the event since January – and cleared a best of 1.84m for sixth.
British champion Naomi Ogbeta (Tom Cullen; Trafford) was also sixth in the triple jump with a best 0f 13.56m in the fifth round, Daryll Neita (Rana Reider; Cambridge Harriers), fresh from victory in Sweden on Monday, showed progression by lowering her time as she clocked 11.50 in the 100m for eighth place and Zak Seddon (Jeff Seddon; Bracknell) was 11th in the 3000m steeplechase with 8:38.86.