LAURA MUIR wept tears of joy on the track as she finally bagged a global outdoors medal in the quickest 1500m race in Olympic history.
The Scot has long been tipped to make a mark at either Olympic or world level but until this evening in Tokyo it had never quite happened.
But the 28-year-old – who began her running career chasing little lambs on a nearby farm – was ecstatic to break that duck and could not contain her emotions at the finish after securing the silver medal.
Her time of 3:54.50 was a national record – breaking her own previous best – but was behind the Olympic record of 3:53.11 set by Kenyan Faith Kipyegon.
What would have pleased Muir the most was that on the final lap she had the kick and stamina to out-race her nemesis Sifan Hassan.
Muir, her voice breaking as she spoke on TV, said: “I don’t know what to say. I am overblown. I have worked so hard for so long.
“I have been fourth, fifth twice, sixth and seventh at a global champ every year since 2015.
“With everything last year with the postponement, not knowing if it would go ahead, and now I have silver. And a British record as well!
“You have to be as best prepared as possible for any situation. I trained as hard as I could as if this would happen. I had no doubts in my mind that it wouldn’t happen. And hoped it would come.
“I was nervous all week, saying: ‘Why is the 1500m at the end?’
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“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me. My mum, dad, gran will be watching at home.
“Jemma, bless her, I couldn’t wish for a better friend and better training partner. I worked with my coach Andy in 2011, so almost a decade next month, and he sacrificed the last 10 years for those four minutes back there. I cannot thank him enough.
“I mean it felt like 3:54 as it was hurting. Oh man, that last 100m.
"I don’t think I ever have been so scared that someone would come past me and I would be fourth. I gave it absolutely everything.
"I was tightening up so bad. I thought, keep pushing, keep pushing. I gave it everything.
"Records can be broken but the medal is mine. I will phone home soon.”
Dutchwoman Hassan won the women’s 5,000m on Monday night and this was the second leg of a potentially unprecedented hat-trick.
Hassan, who has controversial links to the disgraced coach Alberto Salazar, finished in third place in 3:55.86 and had to settle for the bronze instead.
But she clearly ran out of gas to maintain pace with Kipyegon or Muir, the physical exertions of the previous week had finally caught up with her.
Ethiopian-born Hassan will run again tomorrow night in the 10,000m on the final evening of the track-and-field programme at the Olympic stadium.
Many would not expect her to win that event given the 24-hour turnaround and lack of recovery but as she has already shown several times in her career, she is one remarkable athlete.
For Muir, this is a breakthrough moment given she had previously won medals at European level and World Indoors, but chances on the biggest platforms had so far eluded her.
For example she was fifth in the 1500m at the 2019 World Athletic Championships in Doha but that particular event was ruined by an injury in the build-up.
Elsewhere on the penultimate night of the track, Jodie Williams gave it a go in the 400m and was in contention coming down the home straight.
Though she was eventually reeled in by the big guns and finished in sixth place, she equalled her personal best of 49.97 seconds and deserves credit for the performance.
Bahamas runner Shaunae Miller-Uibo retained her Olympic title in the one-lap race, finishing in 48.36 seconds, with Dominican Republic’s Marileidy Paulino coming home second.
American Allyson Felix took the bronze, her tenth Olympic medal from five Games.
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