Edinburgh’s Lynsey Sharp needs to think on her feet if she wants to walk away with a medal from this week’s World Indoor Athletics Championships, according to national coach Rodger Harkins.
The full British team is to gather tonight in Portland ahead of the start of the event tomorrow with the former European champion ranked third among the 800 metres entrants after Poland’s Joanna Jozwik and Canada’s Melissa Bishop – who have both run quicker in 2016 – opted out. And in Sharp’s first crack at an indoor title, Harkins – who coached Scotland’s Lee McConnell to several major medals – claims the Scot should also use the showpiece as a springboard for her Olympic bid this summer.
“It is a bit of a learning curve indoors,” he said. “Lynsey had not done an indoor season for three years and then came out and ran a Scottish National Indoor record and duly made the team.
“I think the conversation with her coach was ‘what can be learned?’. Indoors at 800m has less margin for error than outdoors. You have to make quicker decisions on tactics and in that sense it is a hotbed of fast learning. I am sure Lynsey will look to this and say ‘I can take things from this for the summer and the road to Rio’.”
Steph Twell and Jo Moultrie will be the first Scots in action tomorrow night in the 3000m heats with Chris O’Hare swiftly following in the 1500m. With a European indoor medal to his name from 2015 and a strong winter season, Harkins insists the 25-year-old from Edinburgh should be targeting the podium despite sitting only 13th in the world rankings.
“Chris has, of course, operated in the States for a number of years and is well-versed in indoor running,” he added. “He’d that great Mile run at the Millrose Games and we always know with Chris that he will leave out nothing in terms of fighting to be a contender.”