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Lynsey Sharp will be back as the Verminator is put in place

Thanks to Lynsey Sharp, all of the British team at the European Athletics Championships have nicknamed Andy Vernon 'The Verminator'.

Lynsey Sharp glances up to the big screens in the stadium as she comfortably crosses the finish line. Picture: Getty Sport
Lynsey Sharp glances up to the big screens in the stadium as she comfortably crosses the finish line. Picture: Getty Sport

"Yeah, everyone's been pulling a funny rat face at me," the Aldershot runner told Herald Sport, chuckling and seeing the funny side the morning after his silver medal-winning 10,000m run behind Mo Farah.

Sharp herself looked more like The Terminator when she took to the track in the Letzigrund Stadium last night for the second semi-final of the women's 800m. The 24-year-old not have been accompanied by Schwarzenegger shades and gun but she was a woman on a mission, just like Eilidh Child had been in her 400m hurdles semi half an hour earlier.

Jo Pavey's gold on the opening night, followed by the great British medal rush of Tuesday, has upped the ante for Scotland's two Commonwealth silver medalists. Their first round heats on Tuesday morning might have seemed like a little low-key relief after the pressure cooker of those home Games but the heat is back on now.

It bodes well, then, that Sharp and Child are looking steely-eyed and razor sharp ahead of their finals tomorrow afternoon. The pair could hardly have been more assured in the execution of their races. Both were impressive winners.

In Sharp's case, she does not just have a continental crown to defend; she also has The Verminator to match. Last week they became embroiled in an unseemly Twitter spat, Vernon implying that Sharp had mentioned her Commonwealth medal too much and the Edinburgh runner rechristening the English athlete 'Andy Vermin.'

Happily, all is tweetness and light between them now. Vernon apologised in person before the eve of championship British team meeting. Sharp posted a cheeky congratulatory tweet after Vernon won his surprise silver.

"Everyone in the team is joking about it now," said Vernon. "It's all gone very light-hearted, which is good. She came up to me and congratulated me this morning."

On last night's evidence, the compliment is likely to be returned. Sharp shot to the front at the start of her 800m semi and stayed there, winning by 0.13sec in 2mins 01.32sec. Olympic bronze medallist Ekaterina Poistigova ghosted past Sharp's teenage team-mate Jess Judd to take the second of the three automatic qualifying spots and the Russian looks the most obvious danger to the in-form Scot.

"I'm just feeling really confident at the moment and really strong," reflected Sharp. "I'm in the shape of my life somehow."

Sensibly, the law graduate is keeping her odd coloured racing shoes firmly on the ground. Asked whether she "dared dream of gold," Sharp replied: "I'm just taking each race as it comes. It's good that we've got a day's rest, unlike in Glasgow. It gives us that extra 24 hours to recover and go out fast on Saturday."

Might she go out inspired by the deeds of The Verminator, perhaps ? "Yeah, we've had a bit of a laugh about it at the team hotel," said Sharp. "I spoke to Andy this morning and he said, 'I loved your tweet.' Everyone's on great terms."

Child, like Sharp, is in great form. She dominated her 400m hurdles semi from start to finish, crossing the line 0.25sec clear of Denisa Rosolova of the Czech Republic in 54.71sec, the fastest qualifying time for the final.

"I'm delighted with that," said the Pitreavie athlete. "Now I can go into the final, think about running the same way, and hopefully I can get something. It's exciting that everyone in the team is doing well. It really lifts the group. Everyone's like, 'I want a bit of that'."

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