Child embraces the home support to become Europe's No. 1

Child embraces the home support to become Europe's No. 1
Getty Images

Great Britain's Eilidh Child triumphed in the 400m hurdles with a European leading performance of 54.39 in Glasgow on Friday.

As the pendulum of power in the women’s 1500m once more swung the way of the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan, as she beat Abeba Aregawi, of Sweden, for the second time in six days, it was a Scottish woman who had a great deal to be happy about after the opening night of the IAAF Diamond League in Glasgow.

Eilidh Child is timing her season to perfection and on Saturday morning, she finds herself at the top of the European Athletics rankings.

The 400m hurdler produced another fine run to win in 54.39, beating Cassandra Tate, of the USA, who was second in 55.43, and Australian Lauren Wells, third in 55.78.

Not only is she now in pole position in the event for the European Athletics Championships in Zurich in under a month, but she is very much among the medallists for the Commonwealth Games which take place in this same Scottish city in two weeks.

Glasgow’s Hampden Park football stadium has been transformed for the track and field competition at the Games and Child is counting down in style to both of this summer’s Championships.

It is now three top three places in Diamond League races for Child, 27, this year, with this race being the best as she replaced Ukraine’s Anna Timets, who has a run 54.97, at the top of the European Athletics rankings.

A double medallist at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Gothenburg in 2013 - she won 400m silver and 4x400m relay gold - Child looked fluent over the barriers and responded to the noise of the fans.

"It was an amazing ovation from the crowd here," Child told Britishathletics.org. "I really wanted to execute a good performance, and to nail my stride. I managed to do that and I think that’s why it looked such a dominant performance."

Those last two words - dominant performance - are probably as good as the odd hundredths of a second, because within them comes a confidence that Child has such control over her running.

The same can also be said of her British teammate Katarina Johnson-Thompson who is flying towards both the Commonwealth Games and European Athletics Championships.

She will compete in the heptathlon at the first of those for England and then, most probably, in the long jump in Zurich.

Infact, if there was any doubt because she has also qualified for the high jump, her mind might now be made up after she leaped 6.92m in Glasgow.

It was a personal best and moved her to joint top of the European Athletics rankings with France’s Eloyse Lesueur.

And while that duel could be something special in Zurich, the men’s 110m hurdles is becoming even more interesting because Britain’s William Sharman sent out another emphatic message as won in 13.21 - equalling his personal best - and in the process beat the defending European champion Sergey Shubenkov.

The Russian had narrowly defeated him at the European Athletics Team Championships in Braunschweig at the end of last month but Sharman had the edge this time, winning in 13.21 from American Jeff Porter in 13.27 and Shubenkov in 13.29.

So many great races are developing ahead of Zurich, with the women’s 1500m among the best.

Hassan has the upper hand, this time winning by 0.27 in 4:00.67 from Swedish star Aregawi who had been back in 10th in Paris last week.

When they come together in Zurich, the tactics will be fascinating because no longer can Aregawi control these races. Will she try to break Hassan long before the final lap? Or will she wait and rely on the power that made her a World champion?

It should be spectacular, that’s for sure.