Olympian earns valuable points as GB take third spot

Laura Weightman.
Laura Weightman.

Lesbury’s Laura Weightman earned a useful 11 points for Britain as she came second in the 3000m at the European Athletics Team Championships on Saturday.

And on top of her individual efforts, which helped Great Britain come third behind Germany and Russia, the 21-year-old Morpeth Harrier relished the opportunity to run at Gateshead, which is like a second home.

Having made her name on the world stage by reaching the 1500m final at London 2012, Weightman was instead competing in the 3000m, an event in which she ran a huge personal best of 8:43.46 earlier this season.

While her time of 9:03.11 in windy conditions over the weekend was slower, she told the Gazette that she was pleased with her performance as it was her first competition-style run over the distance this season.

She explained that the race was tactical, as she expected, with a slow first two kilometres before the pace was wound up in the final kilometre.

“I was pleased to get some points for the team,” she added.

“It was a great weekend and for me, it’s always great to go back and compete at Gateshead.”

Weightman’s efforts on Tyneside, in an event featuring more than 600 athletes from 12 countries, come after she ran the World Championship qualifying A time in her first competition 1500m of the season at the Diamond League event in Eugene, Oregon.

Now her focus turns to the latest leg of the Diamond League, back on home soil in Birmingham on Sunday.

It comes at a convenient time as a fortnight later, the city hosts the UK Championships, which this year will double as the trials for the World Championships, taking place in Moscow in mid-August.

Looking ahead to her chances in the 1500m at the trials, Weightman said: “Three of us have got the A qualifying time already and the others – Hannah England and Lisa Dobriskey – are world silver medallists.

“Obviously I’m defending champion so I’m looking to defend that title, but my main aim is to qualify for the worlds.”