Lynsey Sharp headed a gold rush for Scotland’s athletics stars at the British Championships in Birmingham yesterday and the Edinburgh AC runner is now targeting a World Championships medal in Beijing next month
The Capital ace, who turns 25 this week, booked her spot in the British team with a crafty victory in the 800 metres after throwing herself back into action following a two-week training stint at her Boston base. It’s been a slow start to the 2015 season, she admitted, after the frenzy of landing Commonwealth and European silver last summer amid a month she will never forget. But with the worlds now only six weeks away, Sharp is itching to show her would-be rivals what she is truly capable of.
“I was really up for this weekend,” she said. “I just wanted to get competing again. Yes, so happy to confirm my place on the team, I missed it in 2013 so I’m looking forward to it.
“I just enjoy this type of racing so much. It’s good to have these tactical races. It is a strong event in the UK. I needed to prove I was the best in Britain to take on the best in the world.”
Not far behind was club-mate Emily Dudgeon in fourth who looks to be on the cusp of a massive breakthrough after shifting her training hub from Cambridge to Dundee last winter. “I feel training has been going well,” she said. “This summer is all about racing and seeing what I can do so I feel positive.”
Their fellow Edinburgh AC product Chris O’Hare bagged silver in the 1500 metres final, two spots ahead of boyhood rival Jake Wightman, but the 2014 European bronze medallist will now need to chase the required qualifying time to ensure he will be on board for Beijing when the team is confirmed on July 27.
O’Hare, who is based with Sharp in Boston where their coach Terrence Mahon now resides, admitted a lack of race fitness hit his hopes as he tried to chase down title winner Charlie Grice.
“I’d describe it as good enough,” he said. “The job was just to compete well and get the top two placing. I had a niggle five or six weeks ago so to come to these championships haven’t not raced for so long with no experience under the belt this season was a bit intimidating.
“In the last few hundred metres, I didn’t have the top gear but that’s from not racing recently. I think it’s been a big blessing in disguise, though. It forced me to go into strength work. It’s easy to get caught up in speed-work in the summer. I’m confident I can get the time I need.”
Wightman, who opted out of going to this week’s European Under-23 Championships in Estonia to target a world spot, ran out of steam on the final lap but he feels there is still much more to come.
“I should have got a medal,” he said. “But I was just a little short when it counted. Things are back on track now. I’m going to go out and see what I can do between now and the end of the summer and if there’s still a chance I can get the qualifying time for Beijing, I’ll go for it.”
With another Edinburgh AC competitor, Susan McKelvie, landng bronze in the hammer in the last event of the weekend, it took the Scottish haul to five golds, four silvers and four bronzes – with Pitreavie’s European champion Eilidh Child also defending her 400m hurdles title. “I’d like to go into the championships with a personal best and hopefully I can do that in London or Stockholm so I feel ready for Beijing,” she said.
But there was no joy for Edinburgh AC’s Allan Smith in seventh place in the high jump or Lasswade’s Guy Learmonth who was run into fourth in the 800m. “I’ve just had a few problems, bio-mechanical issues with my back, and I’m trying to get back into it now,” the UK indoor champion said. “It’s set me back unfortunately.”