Muir targets World indoor glory as Nisbet smashes high jump mark

Edinburgh's Jayne Nisbet leapt 1.87m to break a 25-year-old record. Muir, below
Edinburgh's Jayne Nisbet leapt 1.87m to break a 25-year-old record. Muir, below
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Laura Muir was the Scottish star of the show at the weekend’s Sainsbury’s British Indoor Championships in Sheffield, with the Glasgow University veterinary medicine student from Kinross taking gold in the 800 metres.

The 20-year-old’s strength enabled her to pull away from a field which included the former World Indoor silver medallist Jenny Meadows to win in 2:06.04 off a sluggish first lap of 64 seconds.

Muir, with the qualifying standard already to her name, now hopes to represent GB in the World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland next month, while Meadows, returning from a series of injuries which ruined her 2012 Olympic hopes, still aims to run in the Birmingham Grand Prix on Saturday and claim a World Indoors place.

Muir’s was the only Scottish gold, but there were two silvers, both mined at the expense of very old records.

It was 1991 when Elliot Bunney, the Bathgate Bullet, set a Scottish National indoor record of 21.28 seconds for 200m at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall.

Ryan Oswald (Pitreavie) improved that by 0.03 secs in finishing runner-up yesterday, much to the delight of his octogenarian coach John MacDonald, whose daughter Linsey won an Olympic bronze in Moscow in 1980.

“Ryan’s only just recovered from a flu-type virus which forced him to withdraw from the Scottish final a week ago,” said MacDonald. “We’ve done no special preparation for this and I believe he’s capable of getting the Glasgow 2014 qualifying standard in the outdoor season.”

Jayne Nisbet (Edinburgh AC) had removed an even older record the previous day, the Scottish indoor women’s high jump mark of 1.86 metres first set by Jayne Barnetson in 1989 and equalled last month by Nisbet’s club-mate Emma Nuttall in Seattle. Nisbet, who cleared 1.87m, was annoyed not to go even higher, having a close attempt at 1.90m which Katarina Johnson-Thompson cleared for victory.

The likeable Johnson-Thompson, however, then went on to clear two more new bests, 1.92m and a British record 1.96m and yesterday added the long jump title with another world-class effort of 6.75m, which suggests she may soon surpass Olympic champion Jess Ennis-Hill’s heptathlon feats.

Nisbet, who shunted Isobel Pooley to bronze on the countback, may now seek one more indoor meet before resuming her build-up for Glasgow 2014.

Two more Scots struck silver yet left disappointed, Chris O’Hare (EAC) and Guy Learmonth (Lasswade) both being outkicked in last lap burn-ups off a slow early pace.

O’Hare, beaten for first in the 1500m in 3:48.68 by home town boy Lee Emanual (3:48.15), managed as he did in Glasgow to pip Charlie Grice by 0.01 sec, this time for second.

He admitted: “I wasn’t at my best – I felt a little flat.”

The 2013 World (outdoor) finalist will seek to post a World Indoor qualifying time in New York next weekend, while former club-mate Kris Gauson, narrowly fourth in 3:48.73, may be left with nothing.

Learmonth, who had stayed too far back despite a slow pace in the 800m, was fortunate perhaps even to finish second as the British No.1 Andrew Osagie (Harlow) had appeared a clear winner until disqualified for stepping off the track. Mukhtar Mohammed (Sheffield) won in 1:51.61 with Learmonth timed at 1:51.87 and hoping he will be invited to the Birmingham meeting on Saturday to make amends.

Jo Moultrie (Glasgow) won a fourth Scottish silver in the women’s 3000m in a modest 9:09.02, while Allan Smith (South Queensferry) and Kirsty Yates (EAC) took bronze in the high jump and shot respectively.

Glasgow 2014 pick Smith cleared an indoor best 2.24m, the same as winner Robbie Grabarz and runner-up Chris Baker, but he had more failures.

Yates strengthened her Glasgow Games chances by reaching 15.53m, the second time she has achieved the qualifying distance. Glasgow choice and club-mate Sarah Warnock set an indoor long jump best of 6.20m for fifth, while Allan Hamilton (EAC) was also fifth in the men’s long jump with a new best of 7.46m to go third on the Scottish All-time list.