Andy Young believes both Muir and Jemma Reekie will be in a better position for Olympic success next year
Delaying the Olympics by 12 months will boost Laura Muir’s chances of striking gold in Tokyo, her coach Andy Young has claimed.
The five-time European champion has continued to stay in shape around her home in Glasgow during the current lockdown in the company of fellow Scottish star Jemma Reekie.
It’s been christened their ‘Social Distancing Training Camp’, with Young monitoring the pair’s output as closely as ever as he awaits any signal on whether there’ll be a shorter Diamond League campaign in the autumn.
But he believes an Achilles injury which was the consequence of the torn calf that hindered her build-up at last October’s world championships in Doha might have left her in catch-up mode if the Olympics had been just four months away.
“Come Tokyo, she’ll still be in her prime,” Young said. “She’s fortunate that it’s not come later in her career. But she had a bit of an injury over the winter so we didn’t really get near a track in December.
“She was still coming back in January and although she ran some exciting times indoors, preparations had still been disrupted and having the world championship in October meant she already had a shorter run-in.
“She needed time off but it didn’t go as well to plan as previous years so she wasn’t as fit as she normally would have been.”
Fifth despite all the disruption in that world 1500m final, Muir found herself over-shadowed by Reekie’s astonishing rise during the curtailed indoor season when the 22-year-old obliterated three British records inside eight days.
The two-time Diamond League champion came up short in her bid to land the 1000m world record at the Emirates Arena but Young says it’s testament to Muir’s talent that she was making rapid progress before the doors to the building where he puts his group through its paces were bolted shut.
“In our last session at the Emirates before the shutdown, she really did a session with Jemma that got me excited,” he said. “I don’t get excited too often. But this indoor run was special. I went ‘wow’.
“Looking at that night, if she’d been running the 1000m that day, I think she’d have obliterated the world record. She’s disappointed about the Olympics. She loves racing.
“All being well, she’ll look to get races later in the year but it won’t be as much of an issue for her as some of the older athletes.”
Reekie’s chances of striking Olympic gold in Tokyo have also been accelerated, he believes.
The European under-23 champion rocketed into medal contention by smashing British records at 800m, 1500m and the mile inside eight days during a stunning indoor season in February.
And Young said: “The extra year probably puts her in a better place with the Olympics being in 2021 rather than 2020. Although there was a lot of excitement around Jemma with her performances and breaking records set by really top-class athletes, this year was always going to be a challenge.
“You never want to hold an athlete back and reduce their chances of winning medals. But I wouldn’t have been piling expectations on her. It would be her first Olympics. She only turned 22 a few weeks ago. It was a chance to gain experience, take it round by round and do as best she can.
“Yeah, she could have had a chance of a medal. But now we have an extra year. And if a season takes place, there is scope to learn more and be a year older by Tokyo.”