29th January 2021


World-class athletics returned as the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold got underway at the Indoor Meeting Karlsruhe in Germany with British victories for Dina Asher-Smith and Elliot Giles, as well as an indoor career bests for Sophie McKinna and Andrew Butchart.

Dina Asher-Smith (coach: John Blackie; club: Blackheath and Bromley) equalled her 60m indoor personal best on her way to victory in the final, posting a time of 7.08.

In her first indoor races since 2018, the world champion impressed at the indoor arena, sealing a comprehensive win in a world leading time ahead of Orlann Ombissa-Dzangue (FRA) and Ajla Del Ponte (SUI) who recorded 7.16 and 7.17 respectively. In the earlier heats, Asher-Smith looked in supreme form, gliding to a time of 7.10.

2017 European indoor 60m champion Asha Philip (Steve Fudge; Newham & Essex Beagles) improved in the final, clocking 7.22 for fifth-place, lowering the time from 7.26 in the heats.

Elliot Giles (Jon Bigg) produced a professional performance as he won the men’s 800m contest in a world-leading time of 1:45.50.

The Birchfield athlete moved into a strong position in the early stages, sitting behind Andreas Kramer and the pacemaker. On the penultimate lap he contained the chasing pack, holding onto his position while closing the gap on the Swedish athlete ahead of him. With little over 50m remaining, Giles eased into the lead and held on for a satisfying victory.

KARLSRUHE, GERMANY – JANUARY 29: Elliot Giles of Great Britain wins the Men’s 800m final during the Indoor Track and Field Meeting Karlsruhe at Europahalle on January 29, 2021 in Karlsruhe, Germany. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

World finalist Sophie McKinna (Mike Winch) threw an indoor shot put personal best in her first competition since September 2020.

She revised her previous indoor best in round two after unleashing an effort of 18.46 metres. It was an improvement by over 49cm for the Great Yarmouth athlete and only her second time over 18 metres indoors. She got off to a sharp start, finding a mark of 18.29m in round one to settle her into the groove before the furthest attempt of her series came in round two.

McKinna finished third overall in a stack elite field which saw Portuguese athlete Auriol Dongmo breaking their national record following a mark of 19.65m while Sweden’s Fanny Roos was second with 18.64m.

KARLSRUHE, GERMANY – JANUARY 29: Sophie McKinna of Great Britain competes in the Shot Put during the Indoor Track and Field Meeting Karlsruhe at Europahalle on January 29, 2021 in Karlsruhe, Germany. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

After a cagey contest in large parts, Melissa Courtney-Bryant (Rob Denmark; Poole) finished third in the women’s 3000m. As the pace dropped in the middle kilometre, it wound up in the final few laps with the 2019 European indoor 3000m bronze medallist in contention for a winning start to 2021. She valiantly pursued the eventual winner, Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN) but could not overhaul her and following a late push by Fantu Worku (ETH), she crossed the line in third in 8:42.41 – the second quickest indoor time of her career.

In the men’s equivalent, Andrew Butchart (Central) produced an indoor PB of 7:40.85 and fourth-place. Bethwell Birgen’s (KEN) turn of pace in the closing laps saw the chasers lose ground, however, the Briton used his experience to push on for a Scottish record and also move to second on the UK all-time list over the indoor 3000m.