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Laura Muir: I’ve got a few years left in these legs – Olympic silver was not the end

Laura Muir knows she may never better the Olympic silver medal that gave Britain a night to remember in Tokyo.

But as the New Year dawns she insists her first taste of global success has only made her more hungry.

Until now Muir awoke from every Hogmanay resolving to shed her ‘nearly’ tag. Not today, not after that 1,500 metres performance.

It remains to be seen whether she will ever top beating Sifan Hassan to second place behind Faith Kipyegon in a British record time.

But the 28-year-old Scot has made clear she will not fail for the want of trying.

“The fire inside me is, if anything, burning even more fiercely now,” she said. “Tokyo gave me a taste of what it’s like to be on a global podium.

“I want more of that; I want to add more medals. It’s going to be incredibly tough. This is probably the most competitive time there’s been in my event. But I’m very excited to be a part of that.”

Rather than rest on her laurels, Muir has targeted all three championships this summer: Worlds, Commonwealths and Europeans.

She has already returned to racing, winning the Scottish Short Course Cross-Country Championships.

It was small beer compared to the Olympics but it sent a message that she is back up and running, business as usual.

“I think I’ve got a few years left in these legs,” she smiled. “I’ll keep on running competitively for as long as my body holds up.

“To have finally put a performance out there that shows the calibre of athlete I am is huge for me. I always knew I could do it, but going to Tokyo and delivering has given me huge belief.

“I will now go into championships more relaxed, with the confidence that I’ve been and done it already. That’s a huge hurdle. Now I’m over it, things should be a bit smoother in that sense.

“It’s going to be hard, of course it is. But I’m incorporating more strength and conditioning work to make me stronger.

“It’s a matter of being consistent and staying injury free. If I work as hard as I can hopefully it will get me closer and closer to that golden position.”

Seb Coe: Track and field dopers are “architects of their own downfall”

Seb Coe says British sprinter CJ Ujah’s ongoing doping case is a painful reminder that athletics is committed to cleaning up its act.

Ujah is provisionally suspended having tested positive for a banned substance after helping Team GB win an Olympic sprint relay silver medal in Tokyo.

The case is with the Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and as the year ends the 27-year old has yet to learn his fate.

Ujah insists he is “not a cheat” and has “never and would never knowingly take a banned substance”.

Lord Coe, a former chairman of the British Olympic Association, said that “of course” he would be disappointed were the case against the Londoner to be proven.

It would mean not only him, but team mates Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, losing their medals and Team GB giving up the notable achievement of matching their 65-medal haul of London 2012.

But Coe, boss of World Athletics, added that from a broader perspective the case provided further evidence of track and field’s increased determination to protect its competitive integrity.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe ( Image: PA)

“Take Great Britain out of this,” said Coe. “I would share the disappointment in any federation and in any athlete that falls fouls.

“I am sorry to say this, and I am not going to be romantic or emotional about it, they are the architects of their own downfall here. The rules are very clear. It is not arcane maritime law.

“We spend hundreds of thousands of pounds a year through the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), for its education programme, making sure athletes and federations understand what the roles, the rules, the obligations are.

“Take Great Britain out of this,” said Coe. “I would share the disappointment in any federation and in any athlete that falls fouls.

“I am sorry to say this, and I am not going to be romantic or emotional about it, they are the architects of their own downfall here. The rules are very clear. It is not arcane maritime law.

“We spend hundreds of thousands of pounds a year through the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), for its education programme, making sure athletes and federations understand what the roles, the rules, the obligations are.

“So, yes, I am disappointed in so far as every positive is not a good story. But in a way it does show that we are at least tackling this issue now and we are a federation who are not doing junk tests.

“We are not sitting there saying we have hundreds of thousands of meaningless tests. We are doing it in a very systemic and effective way. We will continue to that.”

World champions Christian Coleman and Salwa Eid Naser both missed Tokyo due to bans, as did 2016 Olympic hurdles champion Brianna Rollins-McNeal.

Ahead of the delayed Games, Coe even warned: “There is a greater chance of (cheats) being caught than probably any previous Games.”

Last night he added: “I want athletes to recognise that it really doesn’t matter where they reside, what systems they are in, whether they come from small, medium-sized, large, powerful federations.

“The philosophy is pretty simple, everybody will be treated exactly the same way. I think it is demonstrating that.”

Athlete, 25, diagnosed with incurable cancer

At the age of 25, middle-distance runner Andrew McAslan is facing an uncertain future. Like any promising athlete he had hopes of progressing and competing at international level but, now, he is learning to deal with having incurable cancer.

In July this year, McAslan was diagnosed with Stage Four Non-Hodgkin Follicular Lymphoma and is currently having immuno-chemotherapy.

Despite having his symptoms for around six months, it’s highly likely the Manchester athlete – now living in Leeds – could have had the disease for around three to four years, and it had just been slowly growing. But he also has to come to terms with the fact there is no cure for his condition.

Even if remission is achieved it will still be living in his body with a high chance it will start growing again. There is also no indication of when or how severe that may be.

While McAslan now has a diagnosis, the journey to get to that point was far from straightforward. The runner had previously struggled with glandular fever through university but, despite all the problems that came with it, he managed to win a bronze medal in the BUCS 800m two years ago.

With that achievement in mind, the 25-year-old had hopes of progressing onto the international level but those ambitions were soon dashed. His form in 2020 started to deteriorate, he wasn’t running well and he was struggling to understand why.

Then, in January, his condition took another turn. “In training I didn’t feel like myself and I was sort of running ok, but not feeling great,” McAslan said. “It was around January time when I started to get really strange symptoms in my stomach and bowel. “I’d try to sleep and it would just be pulsating.

It felt like I was constantly bloated lower down and in a different area. “It was nothing like I had experienced before and I tried to train through it, then it started to affect my training. “I called the GP and explained and they initially went straight to saying I had IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome). I even pushed the blood tests to see what was going on.”

Those blood tests showed McAslan’s iron and haemoglobin levels were low, and he was given iron tablets to try and improve them.

However, deep down, the runner still didn’t feel his diagnosis was right.

“I wasn’t fully convinced about the IBS so I started taking the iron tablets,” he said.

“That improved my training a little bit and made me feel better, but not amazing.

“I actually did a race, even though my training wasn’t going that well. It was a lot slower than what I normally do but it went really badly. My partner saw me halfway through and thought something’s wrong with it.

“From there my training really went downhill – I struggled to run at the normal sort of pace I was at.

“For example, in a session I’d get to 100m and my body would feel as if it had just lost all energy. From there it was like ‘maybe we need to go see someone else and get another opinion’.

In the end McAslan saw two other consultants to get to the bottom of the problem.

Both came to the same conclusion, that the runner had IBS ‘probably due to stress’. One even said they could rule out cancer straight away because McAslan was ‘too young’.

“You don’t just get a lump out of nowhere that big”

The middle-distance runner had big aspirations before his diagnosis

“As time went on a big lump under my chin developed, a really hard lump,” the 25-year-old continued.

“As soon as that came up we thought ‘that didn’t seem right’. You don’t just get a lump out of nowhere that big.

“I went again to a GP and immediately she said ‘I need to refer you, that doesn’t look good’.

“She got an urgent referral from there and, within two weeks, had a scan on that specific lump and they wanted to do a biopsy because of what they’d seen on the scan.

“It was strange with all the different avenues I had gone down to get checked and scanned, this new lump comes and those checks all came to a head.

“Then I got the news that I had some sort of lymphoma.”

That’s the news no one ever wants to hear, suddenly McAslan’s world was looking very different.

All the aspirations for international competition, and becoming the best athlete he could be, were pushed to the side. Now his life was what took priority.

“I’m 25 and it’s the last thing I expected to happen at this age,” he added.

“It’s properly turned my world upside down. I’ve gone from being care-free and you would never expect your life to be in question at this age.”

He continued: “It makes you focus on what’s important. The tricky thing is trying to focus on, if you want to do something, try and live more in the moment and not worry about what’s to come.

“The tricky thing is, at the moment, we have to shield and no one’s been into our flat. We have to meet people outside.

“It’s definitely about doing the things you want to do and not put it off.

“The mental side of it, it’s been tough to come to terms with the situation but I have managed to stay positive and really focus on just getting the most out of life at any moment.

“I’m just focusing on putting myself in the best position and not feeling sorry for myself.

“If you have a good mindset, that’s half the battle in making sure your body feels good.”

“She’s the hero of this story”

Andrew McAslan has been diagnosed with incurable cancer ( Image: Andrew McAslan)

Since sharing the news about his diagnosis, McAslan has been flooded with messages from the athletics community wishing him well.

But his family, and especially his partner – 800m athlete Leah Barrow – have been a tremendous support through it all.

“She has been so amazing,” McAslan said about his partner.

“I don’t do much research about the disease, I thought I’d focus on keeping myself in a good headspace and relax – all that sort of stuff – when I’m feeling rough.

“She does a lot of research and she actually found the Follicular Lymphoma Foundation. This Facebook page has so much information about real-life experiences, symptoms and how to deal with different things.

“I really have her to thank for how well this fundraiser has done.”

He added: “She’s the hero of this story if you like. It wouldn’t have happened without her.”

Hopes of finding a cure for McAslan’s cancer are pinned on the fundraiser in question, which is raising money for the Follicular Lymphoma Foundation.

The organisation was founded by Nicola Mendelsohn, the vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Facebook, after she too was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma four years ago.

The Foundation’s aim is to fund research, raise awareness, help patients and ultimately find a cure for the disease.

“I’m so thankful for the Follicular Lymphoma Foundation campaign,” McAslan added.

“I think it’s amazing what they’re doing, trying to find a cure and trying to find a cure in the quickest time.

“With everything that’s gone on with Covid that’s given this area a boost to know that it can be done, you just need the resource.

“Cancer’s been underfunded for so long. When I was diagnosed I was obviously in huge shock and really upset but I hadn’t heard of that before.”

What is Follicular Lymphoma?

  • Follicular lymphoma (FL) is an incurable type of blood cancer that affects the lymph glands.
  • There are over 100 different types of blood cancers and over 60 types of lymphoma. There are two main types of lymphoma – Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • FL is the second most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and in most cases is an indolent (slow growing) type of blood cancer that affects the lymph glands.
  • Lymph glands form part of your immune system and act as a filter to help fight infection.
  • Lymphoma develops when abnormal white cells are made that don’t work properly. These cells then increase in number, typically in your lymph glands resulting in painless swelling, usually in one or more of your lymph nodes.

For more information visit the Follicular Lymphoma here

“If you think something’s not right and you’re not happy with the answer, just push”

McAslan has plenty of his own battles to fight as he learns to deal with his incurable condition.

But he’s also taken it upon himself to raise awareness and spread his message far and wide in the process.

“I want a cure as much as the next person, to not worry when it’s going to come back and to have treatment again,” he said.

“The part I want to raise awareness about is actually how hard it is to diagnose.

“So many people, their blood tests seem fairly normal. Mine was a bit off mainly because I was trying to do athletics training with it.

“If you can catch it earlier, they can manage how much it’s growing so they can treat it at the perfect time.

“My family were great in helping pay to see consultants for a meeting but there’s a lot of people who might not be able to do that.”

He added: “If you think something’s not right and you’re not happy with the answer, just push.

“Don’t be silly with it and get it checked.”

To donate to the fundraiser click here.

Mo Farah: I might be a coach at the Paris 2024

Four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah hinted he may have already run his last Olympic Games, admitting the France 2024 games may be “too far of a stretch”.

The iconic British long-distance runner was not able to defend the 10,000m crown he won in the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro, having missed the 10,000m selection time by 19 seconds. It was the first time since 2004 he did not make the Team GB athletics team, which failed to win a gold medal for the first time in 25 years in Tokyo.

In 2016, Farah became the first athlete since Lasse Viren to win both 5000m and 10,000m in successive games. However, after just falling short in the Tokyo games, Farah believes his presence at the Paris games in 2024 are more likely to be in a coaching capacity than competitor.

The four-time Olympic champion is an ambassador for the new HUAWEI Watch GT 3 fitness ( Image: HUAWEI)

“You might see me as a coach going ‘Go on guys!’, Farah, who was promoting Huawei’s latest fitness smart watch, told Mirror Sport. “But I think I’ll be long gone by then (Paris 2024).

“It’s too far of a stretch I think.” At 38-years-old, Farah’s stellar career and achievements have made him one of the most iconic British Olympians of all time.

As well as his four gold medals, Farah also became the second person after Kenenisa Bekele to win long-distance doubles at successive Olympics and World Championships. With ten global title wins, he is the most decorated athlete in British athletics history, and his achievements were soon recognized by royalty when he was awarded a knighthood by her majesty the Queen for services to athletics.

However, while he feels the final curtain on his Olympics journey may have come to an end, he is back training again amid a possible return in the upcoming events. “I am getting back into it slowly, and working hard to get in that work place,” said Farah. “It was hard {missing out on the Olympics} I’m not going to lie, it was hard, it was tough. “The most important thing for me is to get myself right, get myself in good shape.

“Who knows, we have got the Commonwealth games, the European championships, there is lots coming up.” A packed schedule of athletics awaits next summer with the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the 2022 Athletics World Championships in Oregon USA next July, as well as the European Athletics Championships in August. However, having just recovered from a stress fracture in his left foot, Farah is focusing on regaining his fitness and routine, before targeting any new medals.

“I had a stress fracture in my foot, not going to lie, it was hard,” he added. “It took me three months to get out of it, but now I am injury free, and will hopefully be ready to start.”

BBC slammed for Zharnel Hughes interview as Team GB star unable to speak following DQ

The BBC are facing fierce criticism over their interview of Zharnel Hughes moments after the Team GB star suffered a heartbreaking disqualification in the men’s 100m final at Tokyo 2020.

Hughes, 26, won his semi-final ahead of hot favourite Trayvon Bromell to reach the final in his first Olympic Games, having missed Rio 2016 due to injury.

But he was out of the blocks before the starting pistol fired and was swiftly disqualified from what was the biggest race of his life.

Hughes was visibly distraught as he addressed the media after the race, which was won by Italy’s Marcell Jacobs in a stunning upset.

Despite this, Hughes was repeatedly asked to justify his error, with the BBC Sport interviewer saying: “I just think you should kind of explain why or how one of the biggest moments of your life…”

In response, Hughes showed great composure and said: “It was out of my control. We went up on set, my left calf cramped up on me with the cramp I moved.”

He added: “It was all in my control, unfortunately my calf cramped, and I moved. I can’t describe it, it hurts a lot, second time again. I am just disappointed.”

After the interview, Team GB fans flocked to Twitter to voice their discontent about the interview.

One wrote: “Shocking post race interview by BBC reporter. He gave the reason and question repeated.

“Zharnel Hughes was clearly upset and she felt the need to stick the boot in and not even commiserate. So much for being kind and mental health. He handled it well.”

Another added: “BBC Sport, why are you torturing Zharnel Hughes with this interview?

Was the BBC’s interview of Zharnel Hughes unfair? Comment below.

“He’s totally devastated and your approach seems to be along the lines of ‘So loser, why are you a loser?’ Leave the boy alone to learn for the future! It’s a hard enough lesson he’s learned.”

“I thought you were supporting athletes mental health,” wrote a third. “Zharnel Hughes made a mistake in his race. Don’t speak to him like he has let the country down.”

Who was Nicholas Bett?

Kenya’s world champion hurdler Nicholas Bett tragically died on Wednesday.

Bett passed away just a day after returning home from the Continental Championships in Nigeria.

The news of his death has left the athletics world reeling.

Track and field’s world governing body, the IAAF, said it was “deeply saddened and shocked” by the news of the father of two’s death.

Barnabas Korir, an official with Athletics Kenya (AK), said: “It is very sad because I talked to him yesterday. He had gone to Nairobi Hospital to see a doctor because of the injury he picked up in Asaba.

“This morning we got the reports (of his death) and, as AK, we are saddened beyond words.”

Nicholas Bett car after it veered off the road and rolled into the ditch. Photo: Courtesy

Kenyan Sports Minister Rashid Echesa added: “On behalf of the sporting fraternity and moscakenya I convey my sincerest condolences to his family. Rest in peace.”

How did Nicholas Bett die?

The Kenyan athlete was killed in a car crash.

The incident occurred after the car he was driving veered off the road and landed in a ditch.

Police commander Patrick Wambani confirmed that Bett hit a bump before losing control of his car.

Where did the incident occur?

Bett was killed while travelling in Lessos, Nandi, in his home country of Kenya.

He is understood to have died at the scene.

How old was Nicholas Bett and why was he a history-maker?

Bett was just 28 years old.

The 400 metre hurdler made history at the 2015 world championships in Beijing by winning the gold medal

In doing so, he became the first Kenyan to win a gold medal in a short distance race on the world stage. He ran a personal best of 47.79 seconds to claim victory in the Bird’s Nest.

He did not qualify for the final at the Olympic Games in Rio the following year, after being disqualified in his heat for hitting a hurdle. He had been expected to place among the medalists.

Unfortunately, he was unable to defend his world title in London in 2017 due to injury, one of a number he suffered in recent years; in last week’s African Athletics Championships he was forced to pull out of his race due to another.

Nevertheless, he was a two-time African Championship medallist.

Mo Farah dons 1980s attire for fun – and reveals what he thinks about while running(PHOTOS)

Mo Farah took a step back in time for his latest photoshoot.

The Olympic legend donned a baggy jacket and a flat top wig for the unique snaps, showing us how he could have looked in the 1980s.

With a cassette player in hand, Farah appeared to enjoy his new look – even if it was only temporary.

The shoot was for Running World UK magazine’s 25th anniversary edition, which features a range of photos from the event.

As part of the piece, Farah was asked questions about his life on and off the track.

He revealed that he tries not to get sidetracked thinking about trivial things when he is running – and instead prefers to remain fully focused on his own state

Farah poses during the photoshoot (Image: Tod Oldham/Runner’s World)
Farah appeared right at home in the 1980s attire (Image: Tod Oldham/Runners World)

Asked what goes through his mind in the latter stages of a race, Farah said: “Good question. And let me tell you: it doesn’t just get tough, it gets very tough!

“I think you could see that on my face at the London Marathon this year. I know people like Paula [Radcliffe] do things to zone out, like count to 100 over and over, but I don’t have any tricks like that.

“I just keep going over the training I’ve done in my head and telling myself how strong, how fit, how ready I am – and how everything I have done means I can handle the pain

Farah offers a cheeky smile as he goes full throwback (Image: Tod Oldham/Runner’s World)
(Image: Tod Oldham/Runner’s World)

Farah is not too far off retirement but he insists that he will not put on weight when he finally slows down his training regime.

He said: “No chance! Firstly, it’s not setting a good example to my kids.

“Secondly, I love challenging myself, so I’ll always be up for trying new things and signing on for anything that sounds fun; and thirdly, I need to stay the same good-looking guy that my wife married!”

  • Runner’s World UK has marked its 25 Anniversary in the UK with a special collector’s edition of the magazine featuring Sir Mo Farah CBE. The issue is on sale on today