Laura Muir receives Scottish accolade
DOUBLE OLYMPIC CHAMPION KELLY HOLMES EXPECTS MORE SUCCESS FOR ATHLETE OF THE YEAR MUIR
WHEN Dame Kelly Holmes used the words “your future Olympic champion” in announcing Laura Muir as the Scottish Athletics FPSG Athlete of the Year last weekend, she wasn’t just being nice to the award’s recipient or merely saying what the Glasgow-based audience wanted to hear.
Instead, the woman who knows exactly what it takes to reach the pinnacle of athletics – winning gold at 800m and 1500m so famously in Athens 2004 – is firm in her belief that the young Scot is more than capable of also standing atop the sport’s greatest podium.
Holmes has already seen her 1500m British record overtaken by an athlete who won two world indoor medals, became European champion and landed the Diamond League title in 2018.
Expectations are high as to what might now be possible for Muir and, with Tokyo 2020 hurtling ever closer, Holmes can easily picture the 25-year-old wearing an Olympic 1500m gold medal of her own.
“Yes, absolutely,” said
Holmes after Scottish Athletics’ annual awards ceremony which also saw Muir’s coach Andy Young named as Performance Coach of the Year and IPC Marathon World Cup winner Derek Rae becoming Para Athlete of the Year.
“You can see the natural talent, obviously, but it’s more than that. When you’re the best in the world it’s more around your composure, your ability to understand your tactics, your awareness of others. And she just gets it right.
“She’s got that ability to run from the front and obviously sometimes that’s a bit dangerous because you are the pacemaker, simple as that, hence why I never did it, but I think with maturity and as time goes on she’s going to learn where her strengths are and where others’ weaknesses are.”
Another of Muir’s sizeable achievements this year was to complete her veterinary degree in tandem with her on-track achievements.
A full-time athlete now that her studies are finished, she will have more time to spend concentrating on her sport but Holmes – who combined her track and field pursuits with an army career for a while – insists the transition will take some adjustment.
“The biggest challenge out of everything for Laura isn’t really about the athletics, it’s being a full-time athlete because sometimes that change in mindset is different,” she added.
“That transition is probably going to be a big test for her – just to settle into being a full-time athlete with nothing else to be worried about and think about. You can overthink it, you can think ‘I’ve got time where I can do more’.
“It is just a different mindset, thinking purely about athletics, whereas when you’ve got another job you don’t always think about athletics.
“You think about going to do the training, you’re thinking about recovering and thinking about the racing but other than that your mind is on something else and it’s actually quite a big relief.
“When it’s full-time, sport brings quite a lot of pressure and everyone’s going to expect it (success from her) now.”