GB’s Muir wins record fifth European indoor gold

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Venue: Atakoy Arena, Istanbul Date: 2-5 March
Coverage: BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website & app

Laura Muir won a record fifth European Indoor Championship title as she claimed a superb victory in the women’s 1500m final in Istanbul.

Muir raced clear on the last lap to clock four minutes 03.40 seconds and become the most successful Briton in the history of the competition.

Romania’s Claudia Bobocea was second in 4:03.76 and Poland’s Sofia Ennaoui completed the podium at Atakoy Arena.

GB’s Reece Prescod and Jeremiah Azu finished outside the men’s 60m medals.

Samuele Ceccarelli won the title in 6.48 seconds, getting the better of reigning Olympic and world 100m champion Marcell Jacobs in an Italy one-two.

Muir moves ahead of former sprinters Colin Jackson and Jason Gardener as the British athlete with the most European indoor titles.

Having completed doubles over 1500m and 3,000m in both her previous appearances in 2017 and 2019, the Scot elected to focus on the shorter distance in Istanbul and lined up for the final as the clear favourite.

The Olympic silver medallist lived up to that billing, starting at the back of the field as Bobocea set a quick pace, then patiently working her way through before bursting clear on the final lap.

“I didn’t really know what to expect and all my race plans went out the window when it went off that fast,” Muir told BBC Sport.

“At the end of the day you have to be adaptable in the 1500m and it worked out in the end. I’m in a place now where I’m experienced and I can deal with different things. I’m just so happy.

“Going into this championship I was quite nervous because I didn’t think I was at my absolute best, but I hoped with grit and determination I would still be able to come here and win. As you get older you appreciate these opportunities.”

Team-mate Katie Snowden was unable to force her way onto the 1500m podium and placed fifth in 4:07.68, while Ellie Baker finished 11th.

It has been an encouraging winter for Muir, who has recorded wins in the Wanamaker Mile in New York and World Indoor Tour Final over 1,000m in Birmingham as she aims to upgrade last summer’s world bronze in Budapest later this year.

British distance running legend Paula Radcliffe said: “It’s really special for a number of reasons, number one being that she herself said she is not 100%.

“She bluffed a little bit in there, she chanced that she would have enough of a lead by the time she started to tie up. She relied on her instinct. All of those things make her the complete package.”

Muir’s success took GB’s medal tally in Istanbul to four following men’s 1500m silver for Neil Gourley and bronzes for Daryll Neita (60m) and Melissa Courtney-Bryant (3,000m) on Friday.

Prescod and Azu fall short in 60m final

Samuele Ceccarelli wins the men's 60m final with Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs second
Italian national champion Samuele Ceccarelli repeated his surprise victory over compatriot Marcell Jacobs in Istanbul

Prescod arrived in Istanbul as the fastest man in Europe this year and qualified for the final third quickest behind Italian pair Ceccarelli and Jacobs.

Despite a promising indoor season, which saw him run a personal best 6.49secs last month, the British champion was unable to force his way into medal contention after a slow start and finished eighth, with team-mate Azu sixth.

Sweden’s Henrik Larsson took bronze in an event in which GB had won gold in 10 of the past 16 finals.

“In the 60m, if you miss your start, you miss the start. It’s like that when it’s world-class. Unfortunately we didn’t get our steps right and that’s what happened,” Prescod said.

“We are going to be a bit annoyed but ultimately we have run well this year. We have to go away and work even harder. Obviously I’m gutted and a bit upset but it’s part of athletics.”

Britain’s two-time European indoor champion Richard Kilty said: “Reece is a superb talent and we always want to see him win medals, which he’s capable of, but [he’s] got to work on his mentality in major finals.

“He could have certainly medalled if he had focused on his own race. The time that he ran in the semis would have won a medal. At some point he responded in a negative way to what was going on around him.”

Hodgkinson eases through in bid to retain title

Keely Hodgkinson leads her 800m semi-final at the European Indoors in Istanbul
Keely Hodgkinson won her first major title at the 2021 European Indoor Championships

Defending champion Keely Hodgkinson left nothing to chance with a superb front-running performance to reach the 800m final.

The Olympic and world silver medallist, who turned 21 on Friday, powered clear in her semi-final before easing off in the closing stages to win in 2:00.05.

British team-mate Issy Boffey was unable to join her, however Guy Learmonth, competing at his fifth European Indoors, qualified for the final of the men’s event.

British team captain Jazmin Sawyers will look to add to her European outdoor bronze in the long jump after needing just one leap to qualify for Sunday’s final.

“I don’t normally get qualification done in one jump, so it feels quite nice,” said Sawyers.

“I should do that more often. I know I am in good shape. If I can open like that in round one, it is encouraging ahead of the final.”

Jack Rowe and James West both safely reached the men’s 3,00m final, while David King advanced in the men’s 60m hurdles.

Danismaz wins emotional triple jump gold for Turkey

Tugba Danismaz celebrates after winning the triple jump for host nation Turkey
Tugba Danismaz finished ahead of Italy’s Dariya Derkach and Portugal’s Patricia Mamona

Turkey’s Tugba Danismaz won an emotional gold as the host nation secured its first medal of the championships – and only its third in history – in the women’s triple jump.

More than 50,000 people are known to have been killed in Turkey and Syria after huge earthquakes on 6 February.

Danismaz entered the competition with a season’s best of 14.13m, but extended that with a first-round leap of 14.31m which proved enough for victory.

“I don’t know what to say, I’m so happy,” said Danismaz, 23.

“As you know we are going through a very tough time and if people are happy and people are healing their wounds because of my medal I’m so happy. If I made them smile, that’s very good.”

Elsewhere, there were no surprises in the 400m events as Dutch 23-year-old Femke Bol and Norwegian star Karsten Warholm dominated.

Bol, who broke the world indoor record in February, defended her title with victory in 49.85secs, while Olympic 400m hurdles champion Warholm clinched his second European indoor title in 45.35secs.

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