KIRSTEN McAslan had waited eight months for a return to the fray, for the chance to turn practice into what
approximates perfection, to finally cleanse herself of the residue of the bout of glandular fever that likely cost her a trip to the Olympics in Rio and work out past frustrations on the track.
With one world championship silver stashed away from her detour to Beijing in 2015, the 23-year-old knows the highs and well as the lows.
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The champion over 400 metres at the UK Indoor Championships two years ago, the Sale-based Scot showed a little rustiness in her comeback in Sheffield as she missed out on today’s final, with Eilidh Doyle qualifying quickest.
To simply tread the boards again was not enough, McAslan confessed. “I knew I wasn’t in the best of shape but thought I was in better shape than that. It was good to get the legs moving again but I wasn’t really happy with how I performed.”
Once her rehabilitation is complete, her goals for 2017 will be focused on the 400, despite advice from those in and around her
inner circle who have suggested she should move up to the 800m or emulate Doyle by switching to the 400m hurdles if she wants to exploit her gifts to the full. Conservatively, she is staying put.
Regaining her place in what is now a 4x400 relay squad in need of some post-Olympic rejuvenation is paramount.
“The relay is important to me. It’s something that will give me a chance of medals at major comp-
etitions. And I feel like I’ve got unfinished business over 400. I want to get the most out of it rather than leave wondering if I had more potential.”
In her first indoor outing in five years, Eilish McColgan relieved Steph Twell of her 3000m title by a mere 23-hundredths of a
second with a surge to the line. The Dundonian will now pursue an unprecedented double in today’s 1500m final, her spirits buoyed by her recent training stints in Kenya and Qatar under the watch of her mother Liz.
“The first week there I got sick so I went from running personal bests to running awful,” she said. “But the last two weeks in Kenya went beyond what I’ve done before. I knew I was in good shape so I thought why not run indoors and make the most of being fit and healthy. But my Mum told me I had to do both. She used to double up a lot indoors. I felt a bit sluggish coming off the flight and you never know how it will go but that felt good.”
There was a fine bronze for Scottish prospect Mhairi Hendry in the 800m where Shelayna Oskan-Clarke took gold, Asha Philip won the women’s 60m for the fourth time, while Andy Pozzi breezed to victory in the 60m hurdles after beating his own world best time of 7.44 seconds in the semis.
“The main aim is to try and win the championships in Belgrade,” said the oft-injured Englishman. “I’ve got the quick times under my belt, so it’s about reproducing that type of form come the championships.”
Guy Learmonth maintained his recent steady form by qualifying for today’s 800m final in 1:50.06 to set up an intriguing clash with fellow prospect Kyle Langford.
But the Borderer, who has made a European indoor medal a priority, said: “I’m not going to worry about anyone. I want to be in
Belgrade. That’s been the aim since the start of the winter. I’m feeling in great shape, better than ever, so I just want to go out in the final and show that.”