|World Indoor Athletics Championships|
|Venue: Arena Birmingham Dates: March 1-4|
|Coverage: BBC Two and red button, with updates on BBC Radio 5 live|
Laura Muir won Great Britain’s first medal of the 2018 World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, as a gutsy display delivered bronze over 3,000m.
The 24-year-old was always prominent in the field and gave chase when Ethiopia’s world record holder Genzebe Dibaba took the lead with 1,000m to go.
And Dibaba held on, her time of eight minutes 45.05 seconds winning a third straight world indoor title.
Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan (8:45.68) edged Muir (8:45.78) into bronze.
“It’s my first medal on the world stage, it’s a bronze but it means so much. I’ve been fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh so to come away with a bronze I’m so pleased,” said Muir.
Her performance was a season’s best – yet it came after she was able to get time off work to compete as well as undertaking a journey through severe weather conditions to make the Birmingham event from her home in Scotland.
“This time yesterday I was in a taxi half way down the M6. We couldn’t see the bonnet, the windscreen wipers were freezing and it took six hours.
“When we were leaving the house there was a foot of snow and the taxi was two hours late.
“We were booked on a couple of flights but they were all cancelled and it was just a matter of getting down.
“We couldn’t have expected the weather we had and the whole airport to shut,” she said.
BBC Sport analyst Denise Lewis said: “A stunning race. Thrilling from the start. It was always going to be very competitive and Laura was always in the right place at the right time ready to strike.”
Paula Radcliffe in the BBC Sport studio added: “Laura Muir has raced really, really well. I thought for a fleeting second that Dibaba had overcooked it but she found enough to pick it up in the last lap and stay clear of those chasing.”
Muir sat comfortably inside the top half-dozen with a modest early pace taking athletes through 1,000m in three minutes and 14 seconds.
But things quickened markedly, with Dibaba clocking 4:03 for her last 1500m and she will now seek a double, contesting the 1500m title – with heats starting on Friday – with Muir.
Scotland’s Muir has made the championships the focus of the first half of her year having elected not to compete at the Commonwealth Games in April in order to focus on concluding her veterinary exams.
But she once again proved she is a serious contender at the highest stage in adding another major medal to gold over 1500m and 3,000m at the European Indoors last year.
Great Britain’s other representative in the race – Eilish McColgan – came 10th, stating: “I’m really disappointed. I felt sluggish. When the race got going, nothing was there.”
‘Opportunity missed’ for Morgan Lake?
In a women’s high-jump where seven athletes failed at 1.89m – leaving just six to contest the late stages – Morgan Lake missed out on a medal on count back.
The 20-year-old cleared a season’s best 1.93m – the same mark as Italy’s Alessia Trost in bronze medal position and USA’s Vashti Cunningham, who claimed silver.
Lake missed out after delivering more failures than her rivals, with two notable errors at the opening height of 1.84m.
Denise Lewis said: “It will be frustration and she should be frustrated. What she has seen is even when you are not at your best you can still come away with a medal in competitions like that providing you have discipline in the early rounds.”
Leading athletics coach Toni Minichiello added: “That was such an opportunity to step into a medal and she will know. Opportunity missed I feel.”
Russia’s Mariya Lasitskene – competing as an authorised neutral athlete – dominated by clearing 2.01m. The 25-year-old took on 2.07m on her own but failed as she comfortably added World Indoor gold to the title she won outdoors at the 2017 World Championships.
‘That was not Robbie Grabarz’
The women’s competition – littered with early errors – was mirrored in the men’s where only five of the 11-strong field made it to contest 2.29m.
Great Britain’s Robbie Grabarz was one of those to fail three times at 2.25m, falling well short of his 2.30m season’s best.
Lewis said: “Sometimes athletes come to the championships and I’m not saying they are not prepared but perhaps they have not prepared specifically for the championships.
“Perhaps they are thinking of the outdoors. These high-jumpers look lacklustre to me. That was not Robbie Grabarz.”
Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim and Russian Danil Lysenko – competing as a neutral – were left alone to contest the title at 2.36m.
When Barshim clattered the bar with his final effort, Lysenko knew a success would land gold and with silence in the arena, the 20-year-old cleared before performing a somersault on the landing mat.
His success added gold to the silver he claimed at the outdoor World Championships in London last year.