Scotland’s Kirsten McAslan and Chris O’Hare brought Great Britain’s medal tally to nine in the seventh European Indoor Championships which finished in the O2 Arena in Prague last night.
McAslan won a silver in the 4x400 metres relay and O’Hare clinched a bronze in the 1500m, matching the bronze he won in the European (outdoor) Championships last August.
McAslan ran a brilliant career-best anchor leg of 51.83 seconds in the relay to haul the team up from third.
While full-time athlete O’Hare is now almost a medal banker, McAslan is very much a rookie, running in a senior individual event for the first time in the 400m when she reached the semi-finals last Friday.
But here in the Czech Republic she definitely came of age.
Known for her relay exploits as a junior, once anchoring the GB team to gold in the European Under-20 Championships in Estonia, McAslan was entrusted with the glory leg despite the fact that GB could call on the individual bronze medallist Seren Bundy-Davies.
In the end the Welshwoman ran a fine second stage of 52.14 to take the quartet into contention after Kelly Massey opened on a bumpy first leg and Laura Maddox steadied the ship on the third stage.
“That was amazing. I just love relays and it’s awesome to come away with a silver medal,” said McAslan, whose Edinburgh-reared parents Ewan and Fiona were in the crowd. “It felt like a bit of a blur it went past so quick and I got taken by the moment. I wanted to win and thought I could get there.”
O’Hare (Edinburgh AC) achieved his medal despite being spiked at the start and he not only shrugged off that setback but managed to shut out the din as the home crowd roared on Jakub Holuša to a national record of 3:37.68 as he raced away to victory over the favourite Ilham Tanui Özbilen of Turkey, who had set the early pace.
O’Hare, who needed stitches to repair a gashed ankle, stuck to his task in pursuit to hold off the pack in 3:38.96 with fellow Brit Charlie Grice fifth.
“I got stood on after the first five metres though it felt more like a scratch for the first few laps but I wasn’t for stopping,” said the Peebles High FP.
By contrast Guy Learmonth (Lasswade) confessed to being a “wee bit disappointed” at coming in sixth in the 800m final in 1:47.84 with victory going to the powerful Pole Marcin Lewandowski with Ireland’s Mark English second and Dutchman Thijmer Kupers third.
“I was hoping for a medal but the Dutch boy stole a march on us (when he made a break halfway through) and I didn’t have it in my legs to stay with him – but some day I will,” he vowed.
“The game plan was to sit in second or third but I’ve taken a lot of positives from this - it’s another major final and I didn’t come for the trip.”