Lasswade's Sarah Tait misses Euro selection by agonising half second

Lasswade athlete Sarah Tait stormed to a bittersweet victory in the England Athletics Under-23 Championships last weekend.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 4:34 pm
Sarah Tait won the 3000 metres steeplechase on her Scotland debut at the Loughborough International in May (pic: John Patton)
Sarah Tait won the 3000 metres steeplechase on her Scotland debut at the Loughborough International in May (pic: John Patton)

The 20-year-old Lasswade Athletics Club runner smashed her 3,000-metre steeplechase personal best for the third time in a month to take the title.

But her winning time was an agonising half-second outside the standard required to gain automatic selection for next month’s European Under-23 Championships in Estonia.

With the race being used as a trial, Tait had to win and achieve the qualifying standard of 10 minutes flat, but when she crossed the line the clock showed 10.00.49.

“It's a bit bittersweet because I was half a second off automatic selection,” she said.

“I’ve never had a GB vest before so I kind of wanted to cry, but it was happy and sad tears.

“I was conscious I was there or thereabouts and could hear my dad telling me I was on 10 minutes, but I was slow on the first lap and it meant that I was four seconds out the whole way round.

“On the last lap I really managed to pick it up but was just half a second off.

“It was quite gutting but, at the same time, I wasn't really expecting to go there and win and ended up doing it all on my own.

“Nobody came with me at all, and it was quite windy. The fact that it was both windy and I was on my own shows that with the right conditions and the right race I can go definitely go under the 10.”

Despite her disappointment, Tait was pleased to continue the progress that has seen her take over a minute off her previous best.

She clocked 10.28.17 on winning the Loughborough International on her full Scotland debut last month and reduced her best to 10.16.95 in the BMC Grand Prix in Manchester a week later.

She has also set new personal bests for 2,000-metre steeplechase and 3,000-metre flat race over the past month.

And with the Euros selection meeting not until this Sunday, she is hoping for one last chance to dip under the required qualification at this Saturday’s senior British Championships, incorporating Olympic trials.

“I felt really strong [at Bedford] so there's definitely more to come,” she said.