An excellent first session, an enthusiastic crowd, and the first global medal for Scotland’s Laura Muir, who braved a six hour taxi ride through snow and slush to get to Birmingham as all airports and trains in Scotland were closed. Taxi bill? 1500 pounds sterling or $2250 U.S. That was worth it for a bronze medal!
Day 1 reflection
The World Indoors got off to a good start in an action packed 2 hour session. Three GB medal chances produced one medal – a bronze for Laura Muir who ran a courageous race to finish behind Genzebe Dibaba and Sifan Hassan but ahead of Hellen Obiri in the women’s 3000m. A first global medal for Muir who was 7th in Rio and 4th and 6th in London 2017.
Muir said afterwards: “I can’t describe the feeling, it’s brilliant. To get a European medal was brilliant but to get one on the world stage in a world class 3000m, to come through that field, I’m very happy. I was hurting on that last lap but I had to dig deep and I got a medal. I just wanted to stay out of trouble at the start; Klosterhalfen took over the pace so everything went to plan. I knew I could be strong at the end so I’m very pleased. The crowd were great and good on them for coming out to support.”
As well as the women’s 3000m, the only events were the men’s and women’s high jump which took place simultaneously, with the men and women jumping from opposite ends of the Arena into the middle where the two bars were back to back.
The two high jump competitions were absorbing with Danil Lysenko jumping 2.36 to beat favorite Mutaz Essa Barshim who had three failures at 2.36 after having a perfect record up to that point. Lysenko needed three attempts to clear 2.36. The women’s competition was won by Mariya Lasitskene from Vashti Cunningham with Britain’s Morgan Lake 4th. Whether two victories by Russians competing as Authorized Neutral Athletes was what the authorities would have wanted is a moot point.
Whether the simultaneous running of both high jump competitions was a success is also open to debate. It certainly created continuous excitement and allowed a field event to be centre stage. The negative aspect was seeing athletes taking their jump while the stadium announcer was still describing the previous jump. Morgan Lake was, however, very positive about it, saying: “I loved the set up out there – it was nice having the men’s competition on and the crowd seemed to really get behind it”.
A positive aspect of the competition was that the winner of the men’s and two of the top four in the women’s were only 20 years old. The future of the event looks bright.
The hopes of a British medal in the men’s high jump quickly evaporated when Robbie Grabarz failed at 2.25 and was ninth.
Morgan Lake started nervously in the women’s event, only clearing the opening height of 1.84 at the third attempt. She cleared 1.93, the same height as the second and third placed jumpers, missing out on a medal on coun tback with the two early failures coming back to bite her.
The arena looked just over half-full but rather than seeing this as disappointing, one might express surprise that anyone turned up given the arctic conditions and red and amber weather warnings in much of Britain.