Commonwealth champion lands another podium place as she wins Britain’s first medal on the track in Munich behind Yasemin Can
Eilish McColgan couldn’t quite achieve a golden European and Commonwealth double at Munich on Monday night (August 15) but there was a silver medal to celebrate and she made history by becoming the first British distance runner to line up in five Championships outdoor finals in the same season.
Also uniquely, she did something her mother Liz never achieved – a European 10,000m medal. McColgan senior may have won world and Commonwealth gold, as well as Olympic silver over the distance, but her European best was just a seventh place back in 1986.
McColgan junior, who added to her 2018 5000m silver, was ultimately beaten by a strong run from European 2016 10,000m champion Yasemin Can, who did not compete at the World Championships in Eugene.
The Turkish athlete came home in 30:32.57, while McColgan clocked 30:41.05 after kicking away to win her tussle with Israel’s defending champion Lonah Chemtai Saltpeter, who broke the national record to win bronze in 30:46.37.
“I’m sort of happy, sort of disappointed,” said the Scot. “Obviously I would have loved to have upgraded my silver from 2018 but it was a tough race tonight, I definitely feel it in the legs. It was probably a tough ask to do three races in Eugene (at the World Championships) two in the Commonwealth Games and then to come back here again.
“It was a such a high last week, I found it difficult to gee myself up and get ready for another champs but I was proud of my first night. It was a hard run race and I did the best I possibly could.
“If you’d told me at the beginning of the year I’d have three medals I wouldn’t have believed you, so I can’t beat myself up too much about it but I just didn’t have the zip I would love to have had in my legs tonight.”
The race began with a false start and, at the second attempt, Britain’s Sam Harrison went into the lead. The first lap was completed in a modest 76.52 and the opening kilometre in 3:13.05 before McColgan pushed on ahead and by the 2000m (reached in 6:15.74, 3:02.69 for that kilometre) the lead group was down to seven.
A lap of 72.6 then saw off Harrison and a subsequent 72.4 meant the leader had just four followers as she passed 3000m in 9:17.00 to complete a vicious 3:01.26 kilometre.
A further lap saw off compatriot Jess Judd and now it was down to just four at 4km (12:19.39) with Can, Salpeter and world 5000m medallist Konstanze Klosterhalfen content to follow.
A steady stream of 73-second laps saw McColgan lead through 5000m in 15:22.15, with Judd sixth on 15:31.73 and Harrison seventh in 15:43.03.
“If you told me at the start of the year I’d have three medals I wouldn’t have believed you.”
After Commonwealth gold and silver over 10,000m and 5000m respectively, @EilishMccolgan added a European 10,000m silver in Munich this evening 🥈🇬🇧
— AW (@AthleticsWeekly) August 15, 2022
Gradually the laps became more mid 73s and, at 6km in 18:26.13, the three athletes were still shadowing McColgan and looking relatively comfortable at 7km (21:29.15). During the eighth kilometre, however, Can shot past and split the field apart with a 67.8-second lap.
She immediately opened a four-second gap as she powered past 8000m in 24:24.93 with a 2:55 kilometre, doing all the damage and leaving her pursuers now seven seconds back.
The change of pace proved too much for Klosterhalfen and it became a two-way battle between the Israeli and the Briton for silver but they could make no impression on Can who kept the pressure up with a 3:02 ninth kilometre (27:27.97) and a 3:03 final kilometre.
It’s worth noting McColgan ran 30:34.60 in Eugene and 30:48.60 in the Commonwealths as her three Championship 25-lappers varied by just over 15 seconds.
Harrison persevered well to move through to sixth in 31:46.87, though Judd really suffered and finished in a state of near collapse in tenth in 30:23.98.
Britain will be hoping for more medals in the men’s 1500m, too, and all three of the nation’s competitors made it through to the semi-finals. None did it with any ease, however, which was a surprise considering the trio are all ranked in the top five of those competing.
Jake Heyward set out to control the race from the front and after a 2:01.50 800m. He kicked in a 55.99 third lap and then a 27.15 200m but he struggled with a 14.66 last 100m and faded to a non-automatic qualifying fifth with a time of 3:39.30.
The Welshman threw himself over the line as the race was won in 3:38.48 by Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who clocked a very easy 54.07 last lap on his way to victory.
Heyward must have been hoping for a slow start to the second heat but instead Istvan Szogi ran 57.37 and 1:58:45 for the first two laps but then slowed before a furious 53.28 last lap by Michal Rozmys gave the Pole the win in 3:37.36.
Neil Gourley ran a 26.00 last 200m, moving up from seventh to fourth in 3:38.07 to pass Matt Stonier. The latter also progressed, in fifth, also advanced as a fastest loser thanks to his 3:38.37.
It was close behind but Christopher Kessler in ninth ran 3:39.32 and Heyward thus pipped him for the final spot by 0.02 of a second.
All of the Brits – Neil Gourley (3:38.07), Matthew Stonier (3:38.37) and Jake Heyward (3:39.30) – qualify for the final 🇬🇧
— AW (@AthleticsWeekly) August 15, 2022
Considering the fastest nine athletes on 2022 times were given byes straight through to the semi-finals (including defending champion Matthew Hudson-Smith and Alex Haydock Wilson, there were some surprisingly fast times in the men’s 400m heats.
There were wins for Swiss Lionel Spitz (45.46 PB), Italian David Re (45.26 – same time for runner-up Swiss Ricky Petrucciani), Benjamin Vedel (Danish record-equalling 45.50) and France’s Thomas Jordier (45.39 PB).
Joseph Brier was fifth in heat two in a non-qualifying 46.06, missing out on a fastest losers spot by one hundredth of a second to place fifth in the final heat.
In the women’s 400m heats, Laviai Nielsen won the first race in a season’s best of 51.60 which was the third best overall with Poland’s Olympic relay silver medallist Iga Baumgart-Witan quickest with 51.09.
Again the best nine on 2022 times received byes.
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