19th March 2022


Emily Borthwick finished tenth in the women’s high jump final, while Neil Gourley advanced to tomorrow evening’s 1500m showpiece on day two of the World Athletics Indoor Championships.

In the last event of the morning session, Neil Gourley (Ben Thomas, Giffnock North) was in supreme form as he booked his spot in Sunday’s 1500m final.

The 2019 world outdoor finalist stuck with a breakaway group of four in the latter stages and made a decisive move on the final lap as he went to the head of the field to qualify automatically. He took the win from Germany’s Robert Farken in a time of 3:42.79 and will return for the final at 17:35 UK time tomorrow.

He said afterwards, “Just like indoor 1500m running, it was tactical, it was dicey but I really thrive in that. I feel like that’s the most fun when it comes to racing, it’s the best to watch as well. I just had to be patient. I knew these guys all fancied themselves over the last 300, 200, but if I was in the right position, I knew the top end was going to carry me through as long as I got there efficiently. And I executed it well enough today.

“It’s going to be dicey tomorrow because there are 12 in the final which, to be honest, is too many but we’ll deal with that and it’s going to be an interesting one.”

In heat three, George Mills (Brighton Phoenix) found the going tough as he came home in seventh position, posting a time of 3:47.41, so did not make it into the final.

Andrew Robertson (Sale Harriers Manchester) and Adam Thomas (Bracknell) both progressed to this evening’s 60m semi-finals following the morning’s heats.

Thomas ran the second quickest time of his career to comfortably move into the semi-finals. He was second behind Bolade Ajomale (CAN) in a time of 6.59 – he only ran quicker at the UK Championships a couple of weeks ago, a time of 6.56.

Earlier, Robertson was fifth in his heat in a time of 6.62, so he faced a nervous wait to see if he’d advance as one of the three next fastest. Ultimately, the time was enough to see him return for the semis later this evening.

Emily Borthwick (Wigan & District) finished tenth in her first world indoors women’s high jump final. She cleared 1.84m on her second attempt, but three fouls at 1.88m brought an end to her competition.

“I’m devastated with the result because it doesn’t reflect the shape I am in at all, and what I’ve already produced so far this season. But I can honestly say after the last four weeks that I’ve had, this is the most relaxed, chilled and happy as I’ve ever been in competition. I loved being a part of that high jump final today and watching the girls literally soar.

“This gives me more fire for the outdoors. I want to be at the three major Championships this summer and be battling for the top.”

Jenny Selman (Lewis Walker, Fife) agonisingly missed out on a place in the women’s 800m final by 0.01 seconds, after finishing third in her heat in 2:02.00.

The Scottish athlete, who last competed for Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the European Juniors in 2009, conducted herself well in the race, holding the inside lane to take the shortest race line. Like all indoor 800m racing, there was a slight coming together with the Ethiopian Freweyni Hailu on the final bend which chopped up her stride, but she battled well to grab third place which left her just outside the automatic qualifying places.

She sat in one of the two fastest qualifier positions heading into the final heat, but in the quicker race the top four advanced, including Canada’s Lindsay Butterworth in 2:01.99.

Unfortunately, Keely Hodgkinson (Trevor Painter, Leigh) withdrew from the women’s 800m heats prior to the competition. The Leigh athlete warmed up at the arena but decided as a precaution not to race in Belgrade following a quad injury.

Hodgkinson said, “I am in great shape, so it is obviously a shame not to be competing here in Belgrade, but we decided to take this precautionary step in the best interests of the rest of the year ahead.

“I’m really pleased with my indoor season, and it gives me a lot of confidence heading into the summer season which I am really looking forward to.”

“Lastly, I would like to pass on my thanks to the medical team for their support and efforts to try and get me on the start line this week.”

In the opening event of the day for the British athletes, Megan Marrs (Alex Nwenwu, Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) clocked 8.19 for sixth in her heat. With only the first three qualifying automatically and next six fastest, her time was not enough to see the Northern Irish athlete advance.