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A Laura success in Paris

Laura Muir - Laura Weightman

On a night of world class athletics at the Meeting Areva Diamond League in Paris, Laura Muir (coach: Andy Young) and Laura Weightman (Steve Cram) stole the show from a British perspective, smashing their personal bests to move to number five and six on the 1500m UK all time lists.

Hanging back off the fast early pace, the pair flew round the final lap, passing five or six athletes to agonizingly just miss out on breaking the four minute barrier when finishing sixth and eighth respectively. Muir’s time of 4.00.07 was not only a three second personal best and the fastest by a Brit in five years, but it broke the Scottish 1500m record by over a second. Weightman sliced two and a half seconds off her personal best set at the Eugene Diamond League earlier in the season, just a week after winning the Sainsbury’s British Championships in Birmingham.

27 years and a day on from Yvonne Murray’s Scottish record breaking performance in Oslo, Muir said:

“Today was the perfect opportunity to run a fast race, so I thought if I got a PB I’ll be happy, but that’s a PB by almost three seconds! It was so close to four minutes, but I wasn’t aiming for sub four at the moment, so I’m delighted.

“Records are meant to be broken but medals stay with you forever, so all my focus is on the championships, but to get a time like that, I’m so happy. I felt really good on the last lap and started to pick off a few people, which made me feel even better, so I just went as hard as I could down the home straight.

“I’m running an 800m next week at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix, so I’ll be looking to test my speed at that one. I can’t wait!”

Weightman’s 4.00.17 performance had her in tears post-race, both with the joy of her performance and the frustration of just missing out on a sub four clocking. Afterwards she commented:

“I’m really pleased to run a massive personal best but at the same time being so close to running sub four is hard to take. But I gave everything in the race; I tried to go with it and I tried to run hard and I’ve done that and I’m really pleased. You just always want more!

Me, Laura and Hannah [England] are at that level now where we’re all pushing each other along, and it’s really important as you need that. That’s what gets you out of bed in the morning!”

David Weir was the only British winner on the night, leaving it very late to snatch 1500m victory from Frenchman Julien Casoli in the final 50 metres. After sitting back for the majority of the race, Weir moved wide into lane three as he entered the back straight on the last lap, working really hard around the bend to put himself in a position to strike. In the home straight, there were flashbacks to London 2012 as he powered away to take victory in 3.18.78.

“I’m pretty much there. Everything is telling me that I’m in good shape and I’m maybe even fitter than I was at this point going into London 2012. This year I’ve been on the track a lot more, so I feel a lot quicker and I’m looking forward to the next couple of months.”

In the women’s long jump, Shara Proctor (Reider) leapt to 6.70m (+0.8m/s) in the third round to take fourth on the night. Despite jumping five centimetres further than when she finished second at this meeting in 2012, the quality of the field meant she finished two places further back.

Proctor’s training partner Tiffany Porter (Reider) also put on a good show, running her second best time this season to finish fifth. Like the men’s race, it took a world leading performance of 12.44 by Dawn Harper-Nelson to take the win, with Porter clocking 12.72 (0.0m/s), within two hundredths of a second of her personal best. Afterwards she said:

“It’s my second fastest time of the season so I guess I’m moving in the right direction. You’ve got to take the positives out of these performances, but I definitely still have some work to do. I have a meet on Monday in Montreuil and then Glasgow, so hopefully I’ll continue to get my race rhythm back.”

After Nickel Ashmeade of Jamaica was disqualified for a false start, Michael Rodgers took victory in the men’s 100m in 10.00, with GB & NI’s Chijindu Ujah sixth on his Diamond League debut. Ujah, who clocked 10.20 (-0.8m/s) felt his hamstring tighten up mid race, so was

“I was ready to go really, really fast. I felt fresh and everything in warm up went well. But in the race I just didn’t feel good and my hamstring tightened up half way through, I think I just got cold. My last bit [of the race] wasn’t as good as normal as I couldn’t hit the ground as hard.”

Niall Flannery’s (Nick Dakin) Diamond League debut saw his 11 race unbeaten run come to an end as he finished seventh in a world class field, running 49.73 from lane one.  Afterwards he summarised things:

“I’m annoyed I didn’t do myself justice. I’ve run a distinctly average time in a very good race so it’s a bit annoying really.”

Eilish McColgan was just four seconds shy of her season’s best in the women’s 3000m steeplechase as she finished thirteenth, whilst in the field Steve Lewis (Dan Pfaff) struggled in the men’s pole vault, failing to clear his opening height of 5.45m.