The British star duo and Ireland’s leading middle-distance runner all secured places in the European Championships 1500m final.
GB’s Laura Muir and Ireland’s Ciara Mageean finished one and two in the first of two heats to automatically qualify for the European Championships final, with Laura Weightman also booking her place in Sunday’s race after finishing as runner-up in the second heat on Friday morning (Aug 10).
British record holder Muir won the first heat in 4:09.12 ahead of 2016 European bronze medalist Mageean in 4:09.35. GB’s Jemma Reekie was also running in heat one and finished eighth in 4:10.35.
“I just wanted to stay out of trouble and I did that, so yes I am happy,” said double European indoor medalist Muir. “I had plenty in hand, it was just a case of staying out of trouble and trying to qualify as comfortably as possible.
“I have been in medal contention before and in the mix but not necessarily number one. But nothing is guaranteed. Laura Weightman ran well in her heat and there are a few other girls so I am not taking anything for granted and I am going to work as hard as I can on Sunday.”
Ireland’s Mageean looked back to her old self after recent disappointing championships, and said afterwards: “It felt good, a bit choppy at times, but then everyone is trying to hold their position, and comfortable, it gives me confidence for the final.
“I came out to get the big ‘Q’ next to my name and job done. My only tactic and instruction was to qualify, and to finish as far up as I could. I didn’t want to be sitting there worrying about a fastest loser spot, so I knew what I had to do, and my aim was top-three really. So all boxes ticked.”
European bronze medalist in 2014, Weightman, who also won 5000m bronze at the Commonwealth Games in April, clocked 4:08.74 in heat two and secured the second automatic qualifying spot.
“I saw the time on the first one and I think it’s always important to be aware of what’s happened in front of you so I kept half an eye on it,” said Weightman after her heat. “Then when the race started and the Spanish girl went to the front I knew they didn’t want to risk it being much slower.
“But it turned out it was very similar to an 800 and I knew just to sit in and wait. It felt comfortable, I feel relaxed. I’m feeling strong so training has gone well and I’m excited for the final.”
No British woman has won European gold at 1500m, but on Sunday, Muir and Weightman will both have an opportunity to change that, while Mageean will aim to win her second consecutive European medal and follow up on Thomas Barr’s medal success for Ireland on Thursday.
Following three of four middle-distance heats, eight British athletes from a possible nine, have qualified for the 800m and 1500m finals. On Friday evening in the men’s 800m semi-finals, Elliot Giles, Guy Learmonth and Daniel Rowden will aim to make it 11 GB athletes through to the finals.
In the 3000m steeplechase heats, GB’s Rosie Clarke comfortably advanced from the second of two 3000m steeplechase heats in 9:33.78 to finish fourth, her third fastest ever time. Ireland’s Michelle Finn and Kerry O’Flatherty were also in action but miss out on the final.
Irish record holder Phil Healy qualified from the early 200m rounds finishing third in 23.34 to book her spot in the semi-finals on Friday evening, where she joins GB’s Dina Asher-Smith, Beth Dobbin, Bianca Williams and Jodie Williams.
Asher-Smith, of course, is hoping to win a European sprint double after her superb 100m gold on Tuesday.