Eilish McColgan empties tank to claim fourth medal of 2022

·5-min read
Eilish McColgan empties tank to claim fourth medal of 2022

By Will Jennings in Munich

Eilish McColgan emptied everything she had in the tank to win a remarkable fourth major medal in the space of 16 days in Munich.

The Scottish star bagged bronze in the multi-sport European Championship 5000m final behind German Konstanze Klosterhalfen and Turk Yasemin Can.

McColgan, 31, has enjoyed a sparkling summer that saw her dramatically claim Commonwealth gold and silvers over 10,000m and 5000m in Birmingham.

She followed that up with a gutsy European 10,000m silver on Monday night and admits she had nothing more to give in a brutal 5000m duel just three days later.

McColgan, whose mum Liz also grabbed Commonwealth 10,000m glory in 1986 and 1990, said: "I’m so tired, I don’t even know how I made it to the finish.

“With two laps to go I was like: ‘oh Christ, my legs aren’t going to make it to the end’.

“I’m so happy, to come and win another medal I can’t ask for any more than that.

“The other two girls were so strong in that middle section. Everyone was probably expecting me to take it out hard but there have been so many races I’ve lost count, so to win another medal I’m lost for words.

“I couldn’t do any more, and that’s a good feeling when you cross the line knowing you’ve given it everything.

“In the past, I’ve always struggled with injuries but I’ve had a really good run now. This whole year has been a bit up and down, but my parents remind me the training is banked, it’s in you, it’s just getting that out on race day.

“I’m really proud of myself, I came here with only one outdoor medal and now I’ve collected another four – it’s mad.

“I just can’t believe it - this will be a year I will remember for a very long time.”

Earlier this summer, McColgan announced she was planning to turn her attention to road racing and run the London Marathon on October 2.

McColgan’s mum memorably won the race in 1996 and just like the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the Dundee star is determined to follow in her footsteps.

She admits this summer has taken it out of her but is relishing the prospect of a fresh challenge in just over a month’s time.

“We’ll see how I recover from this,” she added.

“This has been more overwhelming than I thought.

“Certainly the Commonwealth Games, such an emotional high as well.

“It’s been tough to get myself ready for this, just a whole lot of caffeine.

“We’re going to see how I feel, how I recover.

“It’s a new chapter for me, the road racing, I’m just excited to see how it goes.

“It’s less intense on the road than it is on the track – I’m glad this is over. I kept saying today ‘one more, just one more’. I’ve done it.”

Scottish middle distance star Neil Gourley slumped to an eighth-place finish in the 1500m final.

World 5000m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen ran a thrilling front-running race to scorch to gold in 3:32.76 as British star Jake Heyward claimed a brave silver.

Spaniard Mario Garcia bagged bronze ahead of Britain’s Matt Stonier in fifth as Glasgow’s Gourley, 27, struggled to live with the contest’s punishing pace.

Ingebrigtsen, 21, came flying out of the blocks and while Heyward was able to just about live with the Norwegian, Gourley paid the price for a jam-packed season of action.

He crossed the line in a time of 3:38.40 to finish almost six seconds off the lead and four behind teammate Heyward, who ran a massive race to soar to silver.

Gourley, who was eliminated in the semi-finals at last month’s World Championship in Oregon before finishing eighth in the Commonwealth Games final in Birmingham, said: “It wasn’t great and far from my best.

“I made the decision to come here and thought I still had something left in the tank to attack this race today, but clearly I didn’t.

“I don’t have any excuses in me - that was my choice and I can live with that.

“I wouldn’t have done much differently - what I would have done would be to get in better shape.

“But that’s a by-product of competing hard over the last few months.

“There’s much more I could do in terms of execution – I just didn’t have it today and I wasn’t good enough.

“I need to get stronger because people like Jakob want to run hard from the gun.

“I want to do that – that means getting stronger, I’ll spend more time at altitude, long reps.

“There’s no point having one of the fastest closes if I can’t use it. What I need to do is clear.”

Heyward, who finished fifth for Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games, said: “I had the race of my life at the Commonwealth Games and came away with no medal, so I really wanted to come into this Championships and get a medal.

“Physically I was in a better place, mentally I’m pretty tough and it was just a case of trying to be smart and patient.”

Moments after McColgan’s race had finished, British long jumper Jazmin Sawyers propelled herself to the same colour medal in the Munich sand pit.

Sawyers, a 2014 Commonwealth silver medallist, leapt a brilliant 6.80m to finish behind Serbian Ivana Vuleta and German Malaika Mihambo.

Dina Asher-Smith, Jodie Williams, Zharnel Hughes, Charlie Dobson and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake all scorched into the 200m finals after Daryll Neita had withdrawn to recover from cramp suffered while winning her 100m bronze medal.

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 German city. Watch daily live coverage across BBC One, Two, Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website