Sprinters Richard Kilty and Dwain Chambers gave the British team a much-needed boost on an otherwise disappointing opening day of the World Indoor Championships in Poland, where Laura Muir’s medal hopes ended in tears.
Muir was tipped as one of the team’s brightest medal prospects after arriving in Sopot ranked third fastest in the world in 2014 over both 800 and 1500 metres.
However, the 20-year-old veterinary student could only finish third in her heat and although she was promoted to second when Iceland’s Anita Hinriksdottir was disqualified, her time of two minutes 2.55 seconds was not enough to advance to the final.
Britain won a record nine medals in Istanbul two years ago, including a bronze for Chambers, who advanced to the semi-finals of the 60m by winning his heat in 6.57secs.
At 35, Chambers is the oldest man in the field by six years but he was still the joint-second fastest qualifier behind team-mate Kilty, who equalled his personal best of 6.53s with an impressive victory in his heat.
None of the three Yorkshire athletes in action progressed. Despite setting a season’s best time of 1.47.59, Sheffield’s Mukhtar Mohammed was knocked out of the 800m heats.
“It was tough and tough for a first heat with one qualifying spot,” said the 23-year-old. “I gave it everything and ran a season’s best. It was great to run against a world-class field and I will definitely learn from this experience.”
York’s Richard Buck was disqualified after a physical heat of the 400m.
“It’s really strange indoors because you accept a lot of physicality in the race,” said Buck, who runs the 4x400m relay tomorrow.
And after taking the lead out in the 1,500m with three laps to go, British champion Lee Emanuel of Sheffield ended up finishing in fifth after a collision.
Emanuel said: “There wasn’t much I could do to be honest. I had a good position but then my stride was affected. I got back in the race and I was there with 200m to go, but I’m really disappointed with the way I finished.”