Guy Learmonth devastated by defeat in Belgrade

Denmark's Andreas Bube, Great Britain's Guy Learmonth, Poland's Adam Kszczot and France's Paul Renaudie finish the men's 800m (Getty Images)
Denmark's Andreas Bube, Great Britain's Guy Learmonth, Poland's Adam Kszczot and France's Paul Renaudie finish the men's 800m (Getty Images)
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Guy Learmonth today confessed a brief lapse in concentration wrecked his hopes for a medal at the European Indoor Championships after crashing out in the opening round in Belgrade.

The Lasswade ace, arriving here among the favourites in the 800 metres, led his heat for most of the way but slipped from first to last in a mass sprint for the finish as his rivals – including Polish defending champion Adam Kszczot – flew by.

“I felt good. I thought I’d just take it out and run strong and run hard,” the 24-year-old said. “But I just got caught off guard over the last 5-10 metres, so I’m not through, which is absolutely devastating.

“Going to the front was my tactic regardless. I saw Kszczot was in my heat but it wasn’t going to change anything. I’ve been running like that all season, but unfortunately I just had a loss of concentration and I’ve paid the price.”

The British champion will now gear up for a summer season that could make or break his career, with the World Championships in London his main target.

“I wanted so much more,” he said. “I came into these championships ranked fifth and it was all really close, bar Kszczot. I’ve only got myself to blame but I’ve come back from worse.”

Scottish trio Laura Muir, Eilish McColgan and Steph Twell all eased into tomorrow’s 3000m final. Capital hopeful Allan Smith starts his high jump bid in today’s semi-finals. Muir will have a double shot at gold after she also progressed into tomorrow’s 1500m final. But Pitreavie’s Eilidh Doyle will only have tomorrow’s 4x400m relay title to aim for after she suffered a shock exit in the 400m semis.