Muir leads British medal harvest; Spanovic shines

Muir leads British medal harvest; Spanovic shines

Serbia’s gold medal winner Ivana Spanovic poses on the podium during the victory ceremony for the women’s long jump at the 2017 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade on Sunday. — AFP
Serbia’s gold medal winner Ivana Spanovic poses on the podium during the victory ceremony for the women’s long jump at the 2017 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade on Sunday. — AFP

BELGRADE — Laura Muir led an impressive final day for Britain at the European indoor athletics championships with her second gold medal of the three-day event after winning the 3,000-metre race on Sunday.

The day’s action was also lit up by Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic, who delighted the home crowd by retaining the women’s long jump title with 7.24 meters, shattering her personal best by 17 centimeters. Only two women have jumped farther indoors, both in the 1980s — East German Heike Drechsler and Soviet Galina Chistyakova.

Muir, who clinched the 1,500m gold on Saturday, set a new championship record of 8:35.67 minutes and fellow Briton Eilish McCoglan finished third behind Turkey’s Kenyan-born Yasmine Can.

“I knew it would be a tough race with Can and that she would probably take the race to me and I just tried to hang on,” a delighted Muir told reporters. “I pushed as hard as I could in the last 200 meters and was just relieved when I crossed the finish line. I am delighted to be part of the British team doing so well here.”

Asha Philip won the women’s 60 meters, Robbie Grabarz took the men’s high-jump silver behind Pole Sylvester Bednarek and Lorraine Ugen finished as the women’s long jump runner-up.

Shelayna Oskan-Clarke snatched the women’s 800 metres silver and Britain also finished as the women’s 4×400 relay runners-up behind Poland, who topped the overall medal standings with seven golds, one silver and four bronzes.

The British team finished second with five golds, four silvers and one bronze. But for all of British and Polish exploits, Spanovic stole the show in Belgrade’s imposing Kombank Arena.

Having entered as the strong favorite, the 2016 outdoor European champion and Olympic bronze medalist showed some nerves in her first attempt as she faulted. But the 26-year-old then took the lead with her second jump of 7.16m before her best leap of the series which drew a rousing ovation from a sellout 11,000 crowd.

“I never imagined it would be so emotional and I am so overjoyed it happened in front of my home fans,” Spanovic said in a trackside interview. “Thank you so much for all the support,” she added after doing a lap of honor draped in a Serbian flag.

The impressive Poles also won the men’s 4×400 metre relay to draw the curtain on an entertaining competition, with the 2019 event taking place in Glasgow.
Farah happy to be tested ‘any time, anywhere’

Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah says he is happy to be drug-tested “any time, anywhere” and for any of his historical samples to be reanalyzed.

The Briton has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and says he has nothing to hide, after a leaked United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report suggested that his coach had “almost certainly” broken anti-doping rules.

Following more media claims at the weekend, Farah said in quotes reported by several British newspapers on Sunday that he was happy to comply with the wishes of any anti-doping authority. “I’m not aware of any request,” he said.

“But as I’ve said many times, I’m happy to be tested any time, anywhere and have any of my samples tested or retested now or at any time in the future, by any official body.”

USADA last weekend confirmed it had compiled a dossier on controversial coach Alberto Salazar following a report accusing the Athletics guru of dangerously using drugs to boost the performance of his athletes.

Farah has remained fiercely loyal to his coach, who has denied all accusations of wrongdoing. In 2015 Salazar was the subject of a BBC report alleging he administered testosterone to American distance runner Galen Rupp in 2002 when Rupp — a training partner of Farah — was only 16, and encouraged misuse of prescription drugs.