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Inverness athlete becomes European under-23 champion as she wins gold in Finland

By Will Clark

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Inverness athlete Megan Keith has been crowned European Under-23 5000 metres champion after claiming victory in Finland.

The 21-year-old won gold in Espoo tonight as she crossed the line in a time of 15 minutes and 34.33 seconds.

She was almost nine seconds ahead of Maria Forero of Spain in second place in a time of 15.43.22 with Amina Maatoug of The Netherlands third in 15.50.83.

Keith stretched the field with five laps to go with only fellow Scot Eloise Walker, Forero and Maatoug able to go with her.

With three laps left Maatoug lost contact. Then with 600 metres remaining Keith drove again and lost Forero, last year’s European U20 cross country gold medallist.

Finally, with 300 metres to go Keith unleashed another kick and this time it was decisive, quickly establishing a 50 metre gap with Walker struggling badly.

Forero moved into silver position and as Walker stumbled down the home straight, Maatoug gratefully ran into the bronze medal position.

Keith landed her first major track title in 15:34:33 to go with her European U20 cross country gold from 2021 and European U23 cross country silver last year.

Keith narrowly missed a medal at the European U20 Championships two years ago when she finished fourth.

Speaking after her victory, she said: "I told myself when I make a move, I needed to make it decisive and I’m really proud that’s what I did,"

‘I’m really happy to come away with the win, as we knew the race was going to be unpredictable.

"I looked at the screen around 300m to go, and hoped to have enough to keep going, as I saw I had made a gap.

"I ran at this track last year, and was disappointed how I ran, but I’ve been working hard since then and gained a lot of experience and I’m really happy with how it has gone."

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