Asha Philip’s purest sprint passion is ‘the feeling of running for an entire country’ and she’s relishing yet another chance to compete on home soil at Glasgow 2019.
The 28-year-old from Leyton will arrive at the European Athletics Indoor Championships, set for the city’s Emirates Arena from March 1-3, as defending champion over 60 metres.
Dealing with the dual pressure of home hopes and protecting a crown will be mere muscle memory for Philip, with Britain having hosted countless major championships in recent times.
The Londoner was on the start line when Birmingham staged the World Indoor Championships in 2018, as well as a stage of the Diamond League at the Olympic Stadium.
“Competing on home soil is actually amazing, it’s one of my favourite things to do,” said Philip, speaking at an event to mark one month to go until Glasgow 2019.
“The British crowd is one of the best. I’ve competed everywhere in the world and they are amazing.
“It’s phenomenal to know you’ll have home backing, that everyone’s going to be supporting you rather than anyone else on that start line.
“You basically feel like you’re running for the whole country.
“You’re doing it for everyone in the arena, everyone watching at home and that’s the unique feeling of a home Championships.”
The European Athletics Indoor Championships have been a nothing short of fundamental in forming Philip’s career.
The powerful pacer, who works under Scot Steve Fudge at Newham Beagles, has assembled an enviable medal collection in 4x100m relay events, with eight gongs to date.
Olympic bronze at Rio 2016 stands above the rest but European gold last summer in Berlin, again alongside Dina Asher-Smith, showed Philip’s pedigree.
But the European indoor victory in Belgrade back in 2017 remains her first and only senior individual medal, a storming 7.06s that smashed a British record.
Philip, who has the British Indoor Championships and Muller Grand Prix to negotiate before Glasgow, appears in fine fettle after a world-lead 7.12s race in Dortmund last weekend.
Having found her voice in the competition as an individual sprinter, Philip is highly motivated to go back-to-back in Glasgow.
“Winning in Belgrade was big, and I needed that,” she said.
“I’ve been a part of the senior team for a long time now and have won a lot of relay medals, which has been amazing.
“The relay is amazing but getting it for yourself is like, ‘wow, I did this by myself’.
“In relay events you have three girls to fall back on. You must worry about them, they’re your sisters and you care about each other because you’re all going for that common goal.
“In the individual you have no-one to fall back on. To know I did it for myself was a lovely blessing.
“I know everyone wants to beat me and take the title, but you have to put that aside and you’re just going to another championships to win another gold medal.”
The European Athletics Indoor Championship Glasgow 2019 is guaranteed to give the Scottish crowd unmissable entertainment. The full competition schedule is now live on www.glasgow2019athletics.com with tickets available across all events