Laura Muir: Team GB’s golden girl is tipped for Olympic glory at Tokyo 2020
Scottish star praised after her ‘double-double’ at the European indoors in Glasgow
Laura Muir made history by becoming the first athlete to claim the “double-double” at the European indoor championships and now the Scottish star is being tipped to win Olympic gold at the summer games next year in Tokyo.
At the weekend the 25-year-old middle-distance runner won gold in both the 1500m and 3000m in Glasgow - a repeat of her performance from the indoor championships in Belgrade two years ago.
The double-double indoors success follows the gold in the 1500m at the 2018 European championships in Berlin and two 1500m titles in the Diamond League. She now has her sights set on the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, in September and October.
Muir told BBC Sport: “I’m so relieved. I set myself a big test this weekend - there was a lot of pressure. So much hard work goes into it. It’s day after day [of training] and on this track. There’s a huge support network behind me.
“It’s so special [to win in Glasgow]. To be on my home track is surreal. I’ll have a little bit of a break in March. I’ve then got two or three months of solid training before coming back in June. After that it’s the World Championships in Doha.”
The Sun reports that Muir celebrated her win in Glasgow by going out for a traditional Scottish supper - fish, chips and a bottle of Irn-Bru - with fellow athletes Eilidh Doyle, Zoey Clark, Shelayna Oscar-Clarke and Laviai Nielsen.
World star of sport
With the historic indoor titles now in the bag, Muir’s coach Andy Young believes that the talented runner will be hard to beat at the worlds in Doha and she will be “disappointed if she doesn’t come away with a medal”.
He told BBC Scotland: “It’s still a long way away, but if she stays healthy and stays in this kind of form she will be very hard to beat, and you’d certainly hope to put her in for a medal.”
Young also believes that Muir’s on-track success is not just making her a star of athletics - but also in world sport. He added: “She’s racking up the medals and wins in unbelievable style. So she’s a proper world star - beginning to move into a world star of sport, never mind athletics.”
Coe backs Muir for gold in Tokyo
While Muir’s next target is the 2019 world championships in Doha, the next Olympic Games are just around the corner in Tokyo next year.
British athletics legend Sebastian Coe, a two-time 1500m Olympic gold medal winner, has backed Muir to star for Team GB at the 2020 Tokyo games.
Speaking to The Guardian, IAAF president Coe said: “There is absolutely no question she could win gold at 2020. She’s come on a bundle. The difference between the good and the great is the ability to change pace, whether it’s breaking clear of defenders or running clear of a pack. That’s what she’s got.
“She is in that purple patch where you get into the warm-up area, you get on to the track and you just don’t think you’re going to lose. It’s not a complacency, you just think you’re going to be better than anything out there. And I sense that’s where she is at the moment.”
Team GB phenomenon
Coe is not the only person to tip Muir for future success. British Athletics performance director Neil Black told the Daily Mirror that the Scot can join Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah as a Team GB “phenomenon”.
Black said: “She clearly has the ability and she has demonstrated the performances that suggest a [Olympic] gold medal is possible.
“I think she is moving towards almost being a phenomenon. She is joining the Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah-type group. Obviously there is a little way to go but that’s the journey she is on.”