Claire Thomson takes a look at the performances of students and former students of the University of Glasgow at this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Storming to victory in the 1500 metres at the Commonwealth Games to collect her second medal in 24 hours, University of Glasgow alumna Laura Muir, destroyed the field at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham to win on the final day of the athletics. Muir removed eight years of disappointment and heartache with one overwhelming and prolonged kick to clench her first Commonwealth title. The look on the 29-year-old’s face as she crossed the line ahead of her competitors made it clear that the wait, hard work and pain, were all worthwhile in the end.
Easing forward to the front before striking for glory with still a third of the race remaining, Muir channelled her inner strength to pull away from the field. Only Northern Ireland’s Ciara Mageean went with her, but it was clear from the moment she accelerated forward that there would only be one winner. She took the gold in 4:02.76, with Mageean just over a second further back in silver and Australia’s Abbey Caldwell won bronze.
“I just thought my strength is in my kick and I just tried to trust it and hope nobody would catch me,” said the Glasgow graduate and vet in a post-race interview. “I ran as hard as I could to the line.”
“This means a lot,” Muir told The Guardian, as she reflected on when she was the young poster girl for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, only to be tragically tripped coming into the home straight, falling back to finish in 11th. “I would have told my younger self: ‘You will learn from it and will come back stronger.’ It sounds cheesy but it is true. I missed the Gold Coast as well. It has been eight years without the Commonwealth, and it has been bugging me.”
The Scottish athlete’s medal was the second of the Games, to go with the bronze she narrowly won in the 800 metres after an appeal over the photo finish from Jamaica was rejected.
“Winging it” all the way to a second silver medal in the women’s road race, University of Glasgow student Neah Evans capped off an incredible Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this summer.
Now with a career haul of three Commonwealth silver medals and two bronzes, the Scottish cyclist pounced when it became clear that the 112-kilometre road race would conclude in a bunch sprint and threw her bike across the line to clench a third medal of these Games across track and road.
Evans’ outstanding road race came after a strong performance on the track at London’s velodrome, where she was a key figure in the scratch race, took points race silver and individual pursuit bronze.
As a key figure in Great Britain’s Olympic team pursuit squad, Evans is no stranger to winning international medals on the track but entered the road race with low expectations. Having not raced on the road in three years, she described her road race result as her highlight of the Games, especially when it came down to such a chaotic sprint with many good sprinters involved, making it even more special.
“It has been a brilliant Games for me. It has been such a big team effort to build and get here,” she told Yahoo Sport. “I have had a lot of very good support so it’s great to come away with something to show for all of the hard work.”
Still missing a Commonwealth gold medal in her collection, the Scot is already eyeing a complete set at Victoria 2026.