Commonwealth champion McColgan admits emotional hangover after claiming European silver

·4-min read
Eilish McColgan of Great Britain, Yasemin Can of Turkey, Chemtai Salpeter Lonah of Israel in action during the ATHLETICS - WOMEN'S 10,000M FINAL at Olympiastadion during the European Championships 2022 on August 15, 2022, in Munich, Germany. Photo: Thomas Niedermueller / Munich2022 (Thomas Niedermueller / Munich202)

By Will Jennings in Munich

Eilish McColgan admits the emotional hangover of her memorable Commonwealth Games scuppered her hopes of landing more major glory at the multi-sport European Championships in Munich.

The Scottish athlete, 31, was dramatically crowned 10,000m champion in Birmingham earlier this month and followed it up with European silver behind Turkish star Yasemin Can on Monday night.

McColgan, whose mum Liz won two Commonwealth Games titles over the same distance in 1986 and 1990, clocked a time of 30:41.05 to finish just over eight seconds behind Can and ahead of Lonah Chemtai Salpeter in third.

The Dundee star gave an admirable account of herself but was unable to lower the colours of 2016 European champion Can, 25, who ran a brilliant season’s best of 30:32.57 in Germany.

McColgan crossed the line 5.32s ahead of Salpeter, 33, while elsewhere, fellow Brits Samantha Harrison and Jessica Judd failed to live with the race’s brutal pace.

The Scot also scooped 5,000m silver at the Commonwealth Games but says her participation in the event at this week Europeans could be hanging in the balance after a punishing summer of action.

She said: “I’m pleased but disappointed.

“I would have loved to become European champion tonight but I definitely felt tired legs today.

“The Commonwealths was one of the craziest weeks of my life and I found it tough to get myself up again today. I can’t complain with a silver medal.

“She’s an incredible athlete, one of the best in the world. I did my best but she was too good tonight.

“It will be tough [doing the 5000m], I’ve got two days recovery to do it all again. We’ll have a think about it tonight but I’m sure I’ll be back, I love racing. To add another medal, I’m more than proud.”

McColgan’s story is infectious and her brilliant Birmingham triumph rapidly catapulted her into the hearts of the sporting nation.

She followed in the footsteps of her mum Liz – who claimed Commonwealth glory in Edinburgh and Auckland – to soar to the summit of the podium at a raucous Alexander Stadium.

Prior to that moment, McColgan had just two major medals to her name in the form of 5000m silver at the European Championships in 2018 and 3000m bronze in the 2017 indoor edition in Belgrade.

Her biggest strength had always been considered her versatility but in the 10,000m this summer, she looks to have emerged as a true master of the gruelling discipline.

In Munich on Monday, she delivered a bold display but was simply unable to live with Can – of Kenyan descent but who represents Turkey – who proved too hot to handle on the German track.

Harrison and Judd, both 27, finished sixth and 10th at Munich’s 1972 Olympic Stadium and were visibly feeling the effects towards the back end of the content.

McColgan’s medal marked Britain’s first of the athletics programme in this week’s revamped multi-sport event on the opening day of competition on Monday.

Elsewhere, sprinter Laviai Nielsen revealed she has also been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis after her sister Lina’s candid admission earlier this month.

The 400m runner, 26, clocked a season’s best time of 51.60 to qualify for the semi-finals before lifting the lid on her personal struggles since last year’s Olympic Games.

She said: “Lina is my biggest inspiration.

“I saw her when she got diagnosed when she was 17 and she went through a really dark period.

“No 17-year-old should have to face that.

“I got diagnosed last year two days before I go went to the Olympics.

“I can’t quite believe that we are role models – it seems strange to say and it’s crazy to see how the tables have turned.

“We spoke about it – we said if she said it, I’m going top have to say something. We came to the conclusion that we’d mention it.

“Luckily I haven’t had any severe symptoms.

“It hasn’t hindered my training or my performance so I consider myself quite lucky.”

British 1500m runners Neil Gourley and Jake Heyward booked their place in the finals while in the field events, Sophie Cook, Molly Caudery, Jacob Fincham-Dukes and Reynold Banigo were among the other British stars to progress across the pole vault and long jump events.

The multi-sport European Championships Munich 2022, featuring Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Rowing, Sport Climbing, takes place 11th-21st August on the 50th anniversary of the Olympics Games in the Germany city. Watch daily live coverage across BBC One, Two, Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website