The pair lead Great Britain to six medals on the final night of indoor action in Glasgow.
Golden performances from Laura Muir and Shelayna Oskan-Clarke led the way for Great Britain on the final evening of action at the European Indoor Championships on Sunday (March 3).
The British team finished the championships second in the medal table after winning six medals on Sunday, which brought the total medal tally to a best-ever haul of 12 (4 gold, 6 silver, 2 bronze).
Bringing Glasgow’s Emirates Arena to its feet for the second time in three days, Muir lined up for the final of the 1500m with the ‘double-double’ of European Indoor middle distance titles – 1500m and 3000m – in her sights.
Immovable at the front of the field from the very start, the multi-medalled Scot had the backing of the sell-out crowd and controlled the pace of the race over the opening laps.
Gradually chipping away to build her lead, a surge in pace with 400m to go saw the gap between her and eventual silver-medallist Sofia Ennaoui (POL) grow, with a relentless final 200m seeing her romp to a historic gold on her home track, stopping the clock in 4:05.92, with the margin of victory some three and a half seconds.
Speaking post-race, the first ever double-double champion said: “I set myself a big test this weekend. There was a lot of pressure on me but I’m so pleased to have done the job and win the double gold.
“So much hard work has gone into this. People only see the race but so much has gone into making that possible. There is a huge team behind me led by my coach Andy, my therapists Derry, Cat and Poora, so I owe a big thank you to them.
“It’s so special for me to do this on my home track. It was such a big opportunity for me so I’m so glad I could deliver.”
Joining Muir in securing the highest step on the rostrum, an utterly dominant gun to tape run from Oskan-Clarke saw the Brit clinch 800m gold.
Asserting her authority on the race from the very beginning, the silver medallist from the last edition of the Championships charged to the front and led the field through 400m in 60.39, with a pursuit of the title well and truly on.
Holding off the dangerous Renelle Lamote (FRA) as she looked to come by several times, Oskan-Clarke fed off the noise from the home crowd to kick for home with 50m to go, with a brilliant run from gun to tape seeing her cross the line in 2:02.58 to claim the first major international title of her career.
“I’m just so pleased. I loved the feeling of crossing the finish line knowing I’d won gold,” commented an ecstatic Oskan-Clarke.
“I decided beforehand I wanted to go out and focus on getting out in front because I wanted it to be a bit quicker. I would then just work really hard on the third lap. I knew at 150m I just wanted to go, and remembered to pump my arms and turn my legs.
“I know I’m strong, but it is just about making the right moves at the right times. It’s hard indoors because if you don’t do that, it’s too late. I wanted to be out there early and hold on for home. I knew I’d have no regrets then.”
Heading into the final full of confidence following top-two finishes in both his heat and semi-final, Jamie Webb took the bull by the horns in the final of the men’s 800m and wasted little time in mixing it at the front of the seven-strong field.
Attacking down the inside with 300m to go and ‘running for gold’ as he stated he would do the day before, Webb held silver at the bell and dug in deep down the back straight with the intention of letting no-one by him as he charged for home down the home straight.
Rewarded with a magnificent personal best of 1:47.13 and a hugely eye-catching silver medal – Great Britain’s best result in the men’s event for close to 30 years on the European indoor stage – Webb was unsurprisingly delighted when he spoke afterwards.
He said: “Everyone’s got opinions; I’ve learnt a lot and that I’ve just got to look after myself. People who think because I’m 23-24 going on 25, you’re not going to improve. But you are sort of a master of your own destiny, and I’ve got another six years of improvement.
“I look at people like Nick Symmonds who won Olympic bronze at 30-31 I think. There’s no reason why I can’t be 1:44-1:43s this summer, or 1:42, chipping away. I’ve improved every year and I was a latecomer to the sport. I only started training at 18 properly, very progressively and we’ve got a long-term view – it’s a big 18 months now with world champs all the way through until Tokyo.”
Winners of silver at the last edition of the championships in Belgrade, a strong-looking quartet of Laviai Nielsen, Zoey Clark, Amber Anning and Eilidh Doyle lined up for the final event, the women’s 4x400m relay, with a medal in their sights once more.
Taking the stagger out of Belgium early doors, Nielsen put the team straight into bronze and maintained the position come handing over to Clark. Bursting into the silver medal position almost immediately and only showing sign of tiring come the final 50m, the Scot clung on to second before passing to senior debutant Anning with less than half of the race to go.
Showing no sign of panicking in the Championship environment, Anning appeared serene as she coasted round her two laps while fending off Italy, with a roar erupting as she handed over to home-favourite Doyle who was tasked with running down leaders Poland and keeping Italy at bay.
Eating up the metres on the reigning champions Poland, Doyle just ran out of track as Poland snatched gold in a repeat of the one-two from two years ago as the British quartet clocked 2:29.55 to Poland’s 3:28.77, with the medal bringing the curtain down on Britain’s most-successful showing at the Championships.
GB medal tally (12)
Gold (4): Laura Muir – 1500m and 3000m, Shelayna Oskan-Clarke – 800m and Katarina Johnson-Thompson – Pentathlon.
Silver (6): Chris O’Hare – 3000m, Jamie Webb – 800m, 4x400m – Women, Holly Bradshaw – Pole Vault, Tim Duckworth – Heptathlon and Niamh Emerson – Pentathlon.
Bronze (2): Melissa Courtney – 3000m and Asha Philip – 60m.
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