September 27, 2021

Tokyo Olympics: Laura Muir eyes medal to ‘kick-start’ sustained track success

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Laura Muir
Laura Muir is content with the “tough decision” to drop the 800m in Tokyo
Dates: 23 July-8 August Time in Tokyo: BST +8
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live, Sports Extra and Sounds; live text and video clips on BBC Sport website and app.

Great Britain’s Laura Muir hopes that securing the first major medal of her career at Tokyo 2020 will “kick-start” a period of sustained track success.

The 28-year-old Scot won European 1500m gold in 2018 and has consistently attained podium finishes indoors.

But she was seventh at Rio 2016 and has finished fourth or fifth in each of the last three World Championships.

“I keep getting so close and it’s so hard, but I know it’s in me,” Muir told BBC Sport.

“Hopefully, when you get one then all of a sudden they start to come. There’s a lot of major events backed up for next year and to kick it off with an Olympic medal would be brilliant.”

Muir had the option of contesting both the 800m and 1500m events in Tokyo but made the “very hard decision” to drop the shorter distance.

“Two events was the original plan, but what I really want is a medal and the level of competition is so intense in the 800m,” she said.

“I know I can be up there, but I’d hate to be mediocre at both and, while it was emotionally a tough decision to make, mentally it was clear to me that the 1500m is where I needed to be.”

Glasgow-based training partner Jemma Reekie has recorded the eighth quickest 800m time in the world this year, one place behind Muir.

None of those who won medals in the event at Rio 2016 will compete at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games and Reekie is among a group of emerging middle-distance runners hoping to make their mark in Japan.

“There are so many young ones in the sport who have come through and the extra year has helped us progress and learn,” the 23-year-old Scot said.

“It’s a whole new set of athletes looking to progress, but I know I’d be disappointed if I didn’t reach the final – and I’d also be really disappointed if I didn’t make the podium, so I have high expectations of myself.”

Muir and Reekie are among 12 Scottish athletes set to compete as part of the 72-strong Team GB track and field line-up in Japan.

They are joined by 1500m runner Jake Wightman, who won Commonwealth Games bronze for Scotland at Gold Coast 2018 and finished fifth at the 2019 World Championships.

The 27-year-old landed in Tokyo earlier this week as news broke that six of his team-mates would have to isolate after being defined as close-contacts of a person on their flight who subsequently tested positive for Covid-19.

“It’s tough for everyone, but I’m prepared and, if something happens, you just have to take it as it is,” he said.

“We live boring lives anyway, so the fact we can’t leave the hotel doesn’t change much for us. It’s not a normal Olympics, but we are still Olympians and the medals are still there and we’re still here to compete for them.”