Wed, 17 August 2022 at 9:55 am
By Will Jennings in Munich
Laura Muir says a safety-first approach kept her European title defence alive after an ‘unusual’ 1500m heat in Munich.
The Scot waltzed to victory in a comfortable 4:06.40 but it proved a far from conventional contest for the reigning champion in one of the morning’s opening multi-sport exchanges.
Muir was caught up in an early melee and after having her heels clipped on several occasions, opted to bolt to the front and stay out of trouble.
She controlled the race from that point onwards to deliver another dominant display and follow up her long-awaited Commonwealth title claimed in Birmingham this month.
Muir, who was tripped in the 2014 Commonwealth final when well-placed for a medal, prefers to adopt a different approach in the early heats but admits she was pleasantly surprised with her time ahead of Friday’s hotly-anticipated final.
The Inverness star, 29, said: “I’m not usually at the front for the rounds and it’s not something I usually do.
“I actually got clipped a few times and was like: ‘I’m getting out of here, I’m going to qualify as I’ve got lots of time to recover.’
“I just wanted to stay out of trouble and qualify safely.
“I knew that I wanted to go to the front a bit – I had plenty of time.
“It’s been a busy, busy season but I’m lucky I’ve got a big gap between the heat and the final here.
“I’m happy to qualify and I’m feeling really good and I’ve got one more to go.
“I’m surprised that was 4:06m as that’s quite quick for a European heat.
“I’m happy with that, so it’s now a matter of recovering for the final and I’ve got lots of time to recover before then.”
Muir has had a hectic season but is determined to go out with a bang in Germany this week.
The Olympic silver medallist bagged bronze at the World Championships in Oregon last month as African duo Faith Kipyegon and Gudaf Tsegay soared to gold and silver.
Next came the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, a championship Muir has always associated with unfinished business after that Glasgow tumble and missing the Gold Coast in order to take her veterinary examinations.
But she emphatically laid those demons to rest at a rocking Alexander Stadium as a time of 4:02.75 fired her to victory over Northern Ireland’s Ciara Mageean and fellow Scot Jemma Reekie, who finished fifth.
Muir also won 800m silver in Birmingham and now wants to cap a summer to savour in the final big event of the season.
“It has been a busy summer,” she added.
“But in a way, that’s a good thing because it has been a distraction, so I haven’t had much time to think about coming to another championships.
“But it’s really exciting to have another championships, so I hope it goes as well as the other two.”
Muir will race in the final under the Friday night lights in Munich bidding to defend her European title won in Berlin back in 2018.
A combination of Olympic cycles and the Covid-19 pandemic have prevented the event being held over the previous four years but the programme is back in full swing this week as part of the multi-sports European Championships.
Muir said: “I come into these championships as the reigning champion with the orange bib so I’d like to keep it that way.
“I’d very much love to do that but it is a very tough competition.”
The multi-sport European Championships Munich 2022, featuring Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Rowing, Sport Climbing, takes place 11th-21st August on the 50th anniversary of the Olympic Games in the German city. Watch daily live coverage across BBC One, Two, Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website