Muir breaks another European record as Sir Mo bows out on top

Muir breaks another European record as Sir Mo bows out on top
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Great Britain's Laura Muir broke Yuliya Chizhenko-Fomenko’s European 1000m record with a stunning time of 2:31.93 at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix on Saturday.

Laura Muir put the finishing touches to her bid for gold at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade next week with another extraordinary performance and second European record of the winter in Birmingham on Saturday.

And as the record books were being re-written by Muir, fellow Briton Sir Mo Farah did the same as he brought his indoor career to an end.

It was some afternoon at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix for athletes heading to Serbia for the championships which start on Friday next week.

Here was their biggest international test before then and Muir can do no wrong at the moment as she made a debut to remember over 1000m, moving to second on the world indoor all-time list behind Mozambique's Maria Mutola (2:30.94) with a brilliant time of 2:31.93.

Initially her target was Kelly Holmes’ 13-year-old British record of 2:32.96, but she is in such form that Yuliya Chizhenko-Fomenko’s European record of 2:32.16 from 2006 has now been consigned to second on the rankings as Muir demonstrated her resilience, tenacity and power.

Having started the year by breaking the British indoor 5000m record (14:49.12) and then adding the European 3000m mark (8:27.86), Muir is on such a roll that she could be one of the superstars of Belgrade.

She has talked about doubling up in the 1500m – where she won last year’s IAAF Diamond League – and the 3000m but this time it was all about bubbling with delight at this performance in a race where she had a brilliant pacemaker in 2011 European indoor 800m champion Jenny Meadows.

Muir won from American Kate Grace (2:36.97) and the Netherlands’ Sanne Verstegen (2:38.72) and even though she began to tire in the latter stages, she did more than enough to make history and said: “I really wanted to get the win and that was really important. To beat Kelly’s record is amazing and to be so close to the world record is also very encouraging for me.

Farah looks set to bring his track career to an end totally in 2017 before a career in the marathon beckons and he brought down the indoor side of it by breaking Frenchman Bouabdellah Tahri’s 5000m European record of 13:11.13 by winning in 13:09.16.

Farah had run 13:10.60 in 2011 but that time was not ratified.

Now he has smashed the mark again with victory from Bahrain’s Albert Kibichii Rop (13:09.43) and France’s Morhad Amdouni (13:10.60), who was also inside the old record time.

“I can’t quite believe it is my last race but I have had a great indoor career,” said Farah, who won European 3000m indoor gold in Turin in 2009 and then retained the title in Paris in 2011.

“It is something that must come to an end. It is weird thinking about it and saying goodbye because I have had great support from everyone and in particular this track where I have broken so many records.”

Farah took the lead with 17 laps to go and was never going to lose on this farewell to a British crowd who will see him outdoors this summer when London stages the IAAF World Championships.

As Muir heads with big medal hopes to Belgrade, so will her teammate Andy Pozzi who maintained his flying form in the 60m hurdles by running another world-leading time.

Pozzi cut his world best by 0.01 as he won in 7.43 from fellow Briton David King (7.63) and America’s 110m world record-holder Aries Merritt (7.70).

“I am in really great shape,” said Pozzi speaking to British Athletics. “It has been a long time coming and I have worked hard to be here, so I am enjoying it all the more.”

It was a great day for European performances as Sifan Hassan (8:30.76) broke Elly van Hulst’s long-standing Dutch record as she finished second in the 3000m behind Kenyan Hellen Obiri (8:29.41), while in the 400m races, Czech stars Pavel Maslak, the defending European champion, won in 45.89 and teammate Zuzana Hejnova triumphed in in 51.77.