Melissa Courtney-Bryant burst back on the international scene after a five month break with a spectacular 3,000m win in Germany on Sunday afternoon.
The Poole AC athlete’s return to competition saw her lining up at the PSD Bank Indoor Meeting in Dortmund for the first time since the inaugural Europe v USA International Match in Minsk last September.
Courtney-Bryant produced a dominant performance, which was rounded off with a fast finish to clock 8:49.78 ahead of a strong field.
Amongst those left in the Welsh woman’s wake were European Championship steeplechase silver medallist and World Championship finalist Luiza Gega, of Albania, who finished second in 8:52.59 and promising Kenyan Roseline Chepngetich, who was third.
— @welshathletics (@WelshAthletics) February 9, 2020
Home favourite Gesa Krause, who won bronze medals in the 3,000m steeplechase at the 2015 and 2019 World Championships, finished fourth.
Courtney-Bryant, who married decathlete Ashley Bryant during her break from competition, said afterwards: “I’m really happy with the win, I haven’t raced in five months so today was about feeling good and confident racing.
“I’m delighted to finish so strong and it shows how well my last training camp went.”
Courtney-Bryant experienced a mixed 2019, which she started with a bang, twice breaking her own Welsh indoor 3,000m record – the second time at the European Indoor Championships final in March where she won bronze behind gold medallist Laura Muir.
She gained revenge on Muir by beating the Scot at the Vitality Westminster Mile on the streets of London in May before smashing her own Welsh 5,000m record at the Stockholm Diamond League meeting just a few days later.
But an ankle injury picked up the day after the Stockholm race led to a series of injuries and health niggles which saw Courtney’s season lose momentum. She failed to finish in the 5000m at the Anniversary Games in London and then again in soaring temperatures at the British Championships and World Championship trials at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium.
Courtney-Bryant will be hoping Sunday’s win will be a step towards recapturing her early form from last year with the European Athletics Championships in Paris and the Tokyo Olympics on the horizon this summer.