This is Stuart Weir’s feature on the Women’s 10,000 meters. Stuart lets the reader know how he feels, and in this piece, he expresses some concerns that are felt by many.
Women’s 10,000m Final
The first track final of the 2022 European Championships did not disappoint. A field of 18 was soon cut in half as the leading group set off at a rate of knots. Eilish McColgan went to the front early. Soon there were five – and as Eilish helpfully pointed out afterward: they don’t give five athletes a medal. Five became four: McColgan, Can, Salpeter and Klosterhalfen. It was obvious that unless one of them had a disaster, the medallists would come from those four.
Gradually Klosterhalfen was losing contact, and then there were three. Can opened up a gap between the other two that was never going to be closed. Salpeter was second but with McColgan on her shoulder. McColgan was pushing Salpeter, almost passing her, getting in front, then falling back. Finally, on the last lap, McColgan made the decisive break. It finished
1 Yasemin Can (Turkey) 30:32.57
2 Eilish McColgan (GB) 30:41.05
3 Lonah Salpeter (Israel) 30:46.37
4 Konstanze Klosterhalfen (Germany) 31:24.03
Selamawit Teferi was fifth, following her husband’s second place in the morning marathon. Samantha Harrison was sixth and Jess Judd tenth to give Britain three finishers in the top ten.
Can commented: “All my country was waiting for this medal and they were expecting it from me so I am very glad and happy I managed to get it today. It is a very important result for me also because I did not start at the World championships so I feel hungry for competition”.
Eilish McColgan, who followed two solid performances in The World Championships and two medal-winning races in the Commonwealth Games with a European silver, commented: “I’m sort of happy, sort of disappointed. Obviously, I would’ve loved to have upgraded my silver from 2018, but it was a tough race tonight. I definitely feel it in the legs. It was probably a tough ask to do three races in Eugene (at the World Championships), two in the Commonwealth Games, and then to come back here again.
“It was a such a high last week at the Commonwealths, I found it difficult to get myself up and get ready for another champ, but I was proud of my first night. It was a hard run race, and I did the best I possibly could. If you’d told me at the beginning of the year I’d have three medals, I wouldn’t have believed you, so I can’t beat myself up too much about it, but I just didn’t have the zip I would love to have had in my legs tonight”.
You had to feel for Klosterhalfen, running in her home country and finishing fourth, a great run that must feel like a failure. She said: “It is extremely disappointing in front of your home crowd. I was expecting a fast time, but my preparation was not ideal. I could not follow the pace, and at some moment, you simply have to accept that. Coming fourth and not getting a medal is always frustrating. I still have the 5K race. I tried not to think too much of the big history of the Olympic stadium and everything. I tried to keep this out of my mind before and during the race”.
Can is a great athlete, and she ran well, but she is not European. She was born and grew up in Kenya. You have to feel for McColgan and Klosterhalfen. It just doesn’t seem right for 3 of the top five in the European Championships to have been born and raised in Africa before adopting a different nationality as adults.