Ahead of the members vote for the Sports Journalists’ Association British Sports Awards, we asked members of the SJA Academy to make their case for contenders to win sportsman, sportswoman and team of the year. ALEX MEECHAM with the case for middle distance star Laura Muir
Laura Muir set herself a daunting target this summer, of four medals across three competitions in just over a month.
It was a target that she achieved.
Despite being unable to run for two months following a stress fracture of her right femur in February, Muir won gold medals in both the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships.
But before that was the 1500m at the World Championships in July, where Muir secured a bronze medal with her second fastest time ever, 3:55:28.
The pace was so ferocious that her nearest competitor, Freweyni Hailu, was six seconds and about 40 metres back. Muir called it the toughest race of her life.
Following that, Muir delivered a season’s best 800m performance to secure bronze at the Commonwealths in Birmingham, throwing herself forward at the line to pip Jamaica’s Notoya Goule in a photo-finish.
Muir went one step further the next day, finally getting her hands on a Commonwealth gold after eight years of hurt.
She had missed out on the event in 2018, while a fall scuppered her chances in her native Scotland in 2014, but she wasn’t to be denied in 2022.
A dominant display in the 1500m saw her reach the front with a third of the race remaining and never look back, as she finished more than a second clear of her nearest competitor, Northern Ireland’s Ciara Mageean.
Still, in Muir’s eyes, though the achievement was sizeable, it wasn’t enough.
And the European Championships would prove to be the crowning glory of Muir’s summer.
Another 1500m gold saw her achieve that goal, an astonishing fourth medal in just five weeks.
Her customary kick just before the bell saw her propel ahead of her competitors, taking another supreme victory in front of a bumper crowd at the Olympiastadion in Munich.
Muir was able to take in what she had accomplished and look back on a summer she would never forget.
She said: “It was an amazing opportunity and a very unique one that we’d ever get three championships in a year, let alone in five weeks in the summer.
“It’s just insane but I said you know what, I’ll give it a go. I got a medal in all three and to win the Commonwealths and win the Europeans, I’m so happy.”
The Scot will hope to add even more medals in 2023, and with the World Championships in Budapest this summer, who would bet against her?