3rd March 2024


The Great Britain & Northern Ireland women’s 4x400m relay team broke the indoor national record and Cindy Sember (coach: Chris Johnson; club: Woodford Green Essex Ladies) equalled her 60m hurdles personal best on a short but successful morning for the hosts at the World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow24.

The quartet of Lina Nielsen (Tony Lester; Shaftesbury Barnet), Ama Pipi (Linford Christie; Enfield & Haringey), Hannah Kelly (Les Hall; Bolton) and Jessie Knight (Marina Armstrong; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) combined superbly to win the second of the two women’s 4x400m relay heats in a brilliant British record of 3:26.40 minutes.

Nielsen, making her World Indoors debut, and Pipi set the team up perfectly before Kelly, also making her maiden appearance at this level, surged the quartet to the front with a 51.16 seconds split and Knight finishing it off brilliantly with a 51.03 clocking to secure the British record and progress as the fastest qualifiers.

Meanwhile Sember, who was out on the track in Glasgow just shy of an hour before the British women’s 4x400m relay quartet, made it her own job well done as she equalled her personal best of 7.89 in the women’s 60m hurdles, second in the sixth heat good for automatic progression to this evening’s semi-finals.

Nielsen said: “I think we ran that really well and ran with fight. We are in the final and hopefully we have a good lane, and we will see how it goes.”

Pipi said: “It is incredible to break the national record. As a quartet, we are really strong. But as an event as a whole, we have a lot of depth at this current time, so it is quite exciting to be in this form so early in the year.”

Kelly said: “We all want to do the best for ourselves, but also as a team. On and off the track we are all really close. We just want to run our best in the final, for each other.”

Knight said: “It was nerve-wracking [on the last leg] because the girls set me up so well. It is so stressful because you are at the front doing your own thing, but you don’t know what is going on behind you.

“I just pumped my arms and went for it. Down the back straight when it starts to hurt, the crowd was amazing. But I couldn’t tell if they were cheering because people were closing me down or not!

“It is exciting because we have so much depth. We can run so many different teams, and we can pull out a national record. We just can’t wait to get out for that final and have some more fun.”

Nielsen had the honour of leading out the British women’s 4x400m relay team in their heat ‒ and she powered straight to the final alongside Poland. Nielsen sat on her rival’s shoulder and handed over to Pipi very well placed.

Pipi kept the team second with Jamaica quickly joining to form a lead three. Pipi went wide at the start of her second lap to surge past Poland for the British team’s first lead, something they would not let go.

A great handover between Pipi and Kelly continued their momentum with the Brits and Jamaica now well clear. Kelly ran a superb third leg, 51.16, creating a five-metre lead between her and Jamaica before handing over the Knight to complete the job.

Complete the job Knight did, maintaining that five metre lead with automatic qualification never in doubt through her first lap. At one stage it did look like Jamaica would pass Knight on the final bend for the win.

However, Knight dug deep and powered to the finish for a 51.03 split, that British record of 3:26.40 and the position as fastest qualifiers going into the evening’s final by almost a second ahead of the next quickest Jamaica, who were in their heat.

Meanwhile Sember, fresh from defending her national title in Birmingham last month, was the only British athlete to compete individually on the final morning in Glasgow following the action-packed session on Saturday night.

Her run in the sixth and final heat of the women’s 60m hurdles was a great way to enter the competition, as she got out well and tackled each obstacle confidently, stopping the clock at an equal personal best of 7.89.

That was Sember’s quickest time since the European Indoor Championships in Torun in 2021 and placed her second in that sixth heat, ahead of Olympic bronze medallist of Jamaica Megan Tapper, and fifth overall heading into the evening’s semi-finals.

She said: “It is always really nice to come out in a prelim and equal your PB. I was running with confidence and I’ll take that into the semi. My faith has been a really big thing for this, so I trust the lord and the strength that I have this year.

“I feel a lot stronger this year and it has made a really big difference. Every time I run, I run to win. I can only do my best, so I will be trying to do that and try to win a medal. Records can be broken but ultimately, I want to reach that final and put myself in a good position.”


The Great Britain and Northern Ireland medal tally:

Gold (2): Josh Kerr – Men’s 3000m, Molly Caudery – Women’s Pole Vault