Melissa Courtney-Bryant celebrates. Pic: Pic: Getty Images.

Melissa Courtney-Bryant Enjoys Sweet Euros Medal Success After Olympic Heartache

By Gareth James

Melissa Courtney-Bryant believes a medal at the European Indoor Athletics Championships is reward for the resilience she has shown since suffering Olympics heartbreak.

The Wales Commonwealth Games bronze medalist in 2018, took bronze again in Istanbul on Friday night in the 3,000m to add to her bronze at the same championships in Glasgow four years ago.

It was Great Britain’s first medal in Turkey.

But in between times, Courtney-Bryant has had to battle back from a foot injury that wrecked her dream of competing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo two years ago.

She was forced to watch the 2021 European Indoor Championships from home on television while wearing a boot, and could only cheer on her fellow athletes from the sofa.

“This time feels more emotional because I’ve come through two really hard years of injury,” said Courtney-Bryant.

“Everyone who’s supported me through this, it’s meant so much and to be in the shape again to be fighting for championships medals means so much.

“Two years ago I was watching this event at home with crutches. This time last year I wasn’t training on the track and not fit enough. I’ve come a long way.”

While the 2022 season was average for her, finishing 31st and 24th in the 1500m heats of the World and European Championships, respectively, 2023 is the year she plans to make a strong impact on the international stage once again.

The Poole AC athlete has already proven herself by becoming the British 3000m champion for the second time at the UKA Indoor Championships in Birmingham last month.

Courtney-Bryant clocked 8:41.19 in Istanbul, not far off her season’s best of 8:41.09, which she set at the speedy Boston track during the New Balance Grand Prix on February 4.

Her primary goal for the 2023 season is to break her 3000m outdoor record of 8:39.20, which she established at the Alexander Stadium in 2018, demonstrating how far she has come to achieve such times once again.

Despite a German 1-2 at the championships, with Hanna Klein outrunning Konstanze Klosterhalfen, European 5000m champion, world 5000m bronze medalist, and German record-holder from the mile up to the 10,000m, Courtney-Bryant’s mindset is such that she wants more of herself in a race.

“I’m a little bit disappointed as I know I’m in PB shape and there is a sub-8:40 in me. 

Melissa Courtney-Bryant Cruises Into European Indoor Final

“There were always going to be nerves at a championships race, but I’ve been out of being competitive for two years. So I think it’s about getting myself out there again.

“I’ll have a few easy days and then it’s back to training. I’ve got a few miles to train for with 5km and 10km work-outs, and then I’ll open my season with a 5km. We’ll play it by ear which one [5km or 10km] I end up running.”


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