Laura Muir is still coming to terms with her Olympic medal success more than two months on from Tokyo – but insists it helps fuel her future ambitions.
The 1500m silver medallist was named 4J Studios Scottish Athlete of the Year for 2021 at the 4J Annual Awards on Saturday night in Glasgow.
Scottish Athletics made it a 1500m double with Paralympic T20 champion, Owen Miler, the recipient of the 4J Studios Para Athlete of the Year award.
It ensured Muir and Miller were on the same podium some 15 years after they shared success on the Highland Games circuit while both representing the same club, Dunfermline West Fife (now defunct).
Guest of Honour Jo Pavey, the five-time Olympian, made the presentations on a night which celebrated and recognised athletes, coaches, clubs, volunteers and Officials.
‘We’re more than two months on from Tokyo but it still feels very odd,’ said Laura, whose coach Andy Young won Performance Coach of the Year.
‘When you work so hard for something for so long and then you finally achieve it there is a sense at times that it is not real. I look at the medal sometimes and it is very strange.
‘But it is great to have enjoyed that podium success and come away with a medal at the biggest global championships. There’s great satisfaction.
‘On Saturday morning we were out as a group doing cross country reps again, as we do at this time of the year, and so the hard work has already started for 2022. That taste of success at the Olympics whets the appetite again, so to speak.
‘I’d won the outdoor European title (in 2018) but not had a medal on the global stage outdoors. That’s changed now thanks to the Olympics and we have the World Champs coming up next year and I’d love to win another medal there.
‘And then we have Team Scotland competing at the Commonwealths in Birmingham and that will be really special. I’ve not been at the Commonwealths since 2014 and we don’t represent Scotland very often so I’m very excited about Birmingham 2022.’
Muir headed the short-list of fellow Olympic medallist Josh Kerr as well as training partner Jemma Reekie and Eilish McColgan. Miller emerged from a Para short-list that featured Kayleigh Haggo, Sammi Kinghorn and Maria Lyle.
‘I’m thrilled to win this award as Para athletics in Scotland is very strong,’ said Owen.
‘It’s all down to hard work and a lot of help from everyone in my training group. It was great to be on the stage with Laura gain and it brings back memories of events when we were both very young – like Highland Games meetings in Fife. I always watch her races and she is an inspiration.’
Track legend Pavey couldn’t hide her admiration for the Scottish Athlete of the Year winners Muir and Miller.
‘I was absolutely delighted to present the 4J Studios Scottish Athlete of the Year award to Laura – it was a real privilege,’ said five-time Olympian Pavey.
‘I deliberately asked Scottish Athletics not to share with me in advance details of the winners and that made the presentation moment even more exciting.
‘Laura has won this title before but this time she did so as an Olympic medallist. She has worked so hard, and for so long, for that magic moment in Tokyo when she took a brilliant silver medal in the 1500m in Japan.
‘She is amazingly talented and always so exciting to watch. It was absolutely fantastic to see Laura get on the Olympic podium after showing massive determination over the past 10 years or so. And she won that medal with a British Record.’
‘Owen Miller’s 1500m title win was one of the great moments from the British athletes at the Paralympics and his Para Athlete of the Year award is richly deserved,’ said Jo.
‘I really enjoyed watching the action from Japan and the Scots were certainly to the fore with medals also for Maria Lyle, Sammi Kinghorn and Libby Clegg.’
Muir and Miller were centre stage at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow on a night when the feel-good factor spread across the sport – despite all the difficulties presented by a global pandemic.
It was brilliant to be able to celebrate the contribution of so many people to scottishathletics and jogscotland with the role of volunteers highlighted a number of times during the evening.
Athlete of the Year – Laura Muir, Dundee Hawkhill Harriers
Para Athlete of the Year – Owen Miller, Fife AC
MAS Athlete – Stefanie Reid, Charnwood AC
U20 Athlete of the Year – Kane Elliott, Falkirk Victoria Harriers
U17 Athlete of the Year – Katie Johnson, Edinburgh AC
Eddie Campbell Award (Hill Running) – Isla Hedley, Fife AC
Dallas Trust Award – Josh Kerr