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Athletics: Striding ahead

SHE may be used to flying under the radar, but that is about to change as Laura Muir takes up her spot in the Team GB and NI squad at the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg next weekend.

Laura Muir's target is to make the final in Gothenburg   Photograph: SNS
Laura Muir's target is to make the final in Gothenburg Photograph: SNS

The 19-year-old's improvement at 1500m has been rapid this season and culminated in Muir earning her first senior British vest in January. Since then she has clocked a personal best of 4:12.39 to win the 1500m at the Vienna Indoor Classic, before going on to claim victory in 4:13.59, at the European Trials and UK Championships in Sheffield with both times faster than the 4.14 standard required.

Muir from Milnathort, Kinross-shire attended the same high school as hurdler Eilidh Child and is now a veterinary student in her second year at Glasgow University. She runs for Dundee Hawkhill Harriers and made her British U20 debut in the European Cross Country Champ- ionships in December 2011. Last summer she competed over 3000m at the World Junior Championships.

"My goal is to make the final in Gothenburg," said Muir, who is the only British woman named at 1500m for next weekend's competition. "If I don't make the final but still run a personal best in the heats I would be happy with that too."

She hasn't ruled out running in the World Championships in Moscow this August, but is determined not to get carried away. "It's my first year as a senior, so I think the U23 European Championships in Finland may be a more realistic goal," she said.

Yesterday was spent cheering on brother Rory, 17, at the Scottish Cross Country Championship in Falkirk, an event she won at U20 level last year. "I've competed every year since I was in the U13 age group so I'm disappointed not to be able to run this year," she said. "But I have to think of the big picture and it's best not to risk anything this close to next weekend – especially in cross country where it can be so easy to go over on your ankle."

Muir spent last spring lambing on a farm as part of her university course and hopes to specialise in working with small animals. "I have always loved working with dogs. It's probably a bit safer too than standing around cows and horses where I'm likely to get kicked – certainly from a running perspective anyway," she laughed.

Not that she is one to play it safe usually, confessing to being something of an adrenalin junkie. "I've done things like kayaking, rock climbing and white water rafting – I love big rollercoasters," she said. "I turn 21 next year and have told my parents I want to do a sky dive. My birthday is only a couple of months before the 2014 Commonwealth Games so they have suggested I perhaps wait until afterwards."

Muir will be joined in Gothenburg by Child who last weekend set another PB and Scottish indoor record at the British Grand Prix in Birmingham, clocking 51.50 over 400m flat to make her the fourth fastest Briton of all-time. Currently on a break from hurdles, she has also been named in the 4x400m squad.

Jenny Meadows, who is competing in the 800m, was named captain of the team, which also includes sprinter Dwain Chambers and two rising British stars, pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale and high jumper Robbie Grabarz.

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