Laura Muir re­ceives Scot­tish ac­co­lade

DOU­BLE OLYMPIC CHAM­PION KELLY HOLMES EX­PECTS MORE SUC­CESS FOR ATH­LETE OF THE YEAR MUIR

Athletics Weekly - - News -

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.”

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