2nd March 2024


In-form duo Josh Kerr (coach: Danny Mackey; club: Edinburgh) and Molly Caudery (Scott Simpson; Thames Valley) secured a golden double on yet another Super Saturday for the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team at another major home event at the World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow24.

Kerr, who set a world record for two miles in New York less than three weeks ago, stormed to gold in a men’s 3000m final that well and truly played into his hands, the reigning world champion outdoors in the 1500m surging around the final 400m to win in a time of 7:42.98 minutes.

While Kerr’s final lasted less than eight minutes, Caudery was out in front of a packed Glasgow crowd for the whole evening and, after plenty of drama involving New Zealand’s Eliza McCartney, the series of the British world leader on the way to 4.85m would win her gold ‒ and mark the biggest moment of her career to date.

There were a further three British athletes in finals action on the second evening in Glasgow with Laviai Nielsen (Tony Lester; Enfield & Haringey) finishing an agonising fourth in the women’s 400m final but being pushed to an indoor personal best of 50.89 seconds courtesy of Femke Bol’s world record 49.17.

Laura Muir (Steve Vernon; Dundee Hawkhill), no stranger to world indoor success herself having won silver and bronze on home soil in Birmingham in 2018, battled valiantly to fifth in the women’s 3000m in a time of 8:29.76 while British teammate Hannah Nuttall (Helen Clitheroe, Charnwood) finished 12th in 8:48.24

On a night where the British team won their first two medals of these Championships in Glasgow, both gold, Kerr said: “I came in here without a solid plan for the first time. I was super fluid. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t acting emotionally out there and going with the hard moves that would maybe come back to me. I tried to keep a patient head and I really stepped on it with 400m to go.

“It wasn’t the cleanest race but I got it done. I feel fit and to get a world title is amazing. I’m pumped. It is unbelievable. The Scottish and British fans packing out the stadium was the loudest it has ever been for me. I knew I needed to keep a calm head and keep the heart rate down as it is a much longer race than I am used to. It was an emotional day out there.”

The men’s 3000m final started very slowly and after 400m Ethiopian Selemon Barega had had enough and stormed to the front to quicken up the place. That stretched the field out but Kerr would stick to his own plan in seventh.

With nine laps to go Barega’s teammate Getnet Wale was at the front with a five-metre lead and Kerr bunched towards the back. The Ethiopians kept exchanging the lead before everything changed with 800m to go.

At this point Kerr made a concerted and clear effort to break out of the pack and move second, just managing to avoid trouble in doing so. Helpfully the race also started to play into his hands with a fast finish anticipated.

The world 1500m outdoor champion made his move to the front at the bell, which he had to fight for off Barega. Down the back straight there was no denying Kerr as he surged ahead, getting quicker with every step as he clocked 7:42.98 for gold.

He added: “I think I burnt more energy celebrating than I did in the race, which was a bit embarrassing. These competitions are so important. I have come to championships before not ready to take a real swing at it and I feel like I have let the UK audience down a little bit in the way that I have performed over the last five or so years in front of them.

“This was really important for me, to come here fit and ready to go and execute. I am extremely happy, satisfied and shout out to my whole team, it has been an awesome day.”

Caudery was out on the track for the entire length of the second evening of these Championships, the women’s pole vault final delayed after France’s Margot Chevrier suffered a nasty looking injury.

It was time well spent for in-form Caudery who went clear first time at 4.55m and 4.65m after passing at 4.40m. She had her first missed clearance at 4.75m but would clear second time up, a series she would repeat at 4.80m.

The drama ratcheted up at 4.85m with Caudery now left battling head-to-head with just Olympic bronze medallist from 2016 Eliza McCartney for the gold medal. After one failure at 4.85m, McCartney passed and went straight onto 4.90m.

Caudery stuck at 4.85m ‒ a height one centimetre short of her world lead this year ‒ but try as she might couldn’t pass it. It wasn’t initially clear whether McCartney would continue at 4.90m but, with gold on the line, she did.

The tension was palpable in Glasgow with McCartney needing to clear to secure gold. The Kiwi couldn’t, which handed Caudery the biggest achievement of her career, having finished fifth in the outdoor final in Budapest last summer.

Caudery said: “I dreamed of this. I wasn’t sure if it would come true or not. It was such a tough competition. There were six girls over 4.80m coming into it, so I knew it was going to be a fight.

“It was a really emotional competition actually, the one thing I do want to say is that I hope a lot of the girls get better because there were some injuries and nasty falls. That affected me during the competition, I got really emotional. I just want to send my love to all of them first.

“I’m not used to having a target on my back and to have executed the way I did, I am just proud of myself for that. As soon as I got a medal, that was kind of all I came to do but that made me believe in myself. The last two jumps Eliza took, I was so on edge. We get on well, but I can’t help but be a bit happy.”

Team captain Nielsen rounded off the British interest on the second evening in Glasgow in what would be an historic women’s 400m final. Drawn in lane two, Nielsen battled every inch for a medal but would just fall short.

Her performance was somewhat bittersweet as the world record pace set by Femke Bol would push Nielsen to an indoor personal best 50.89. That placed her fourth as Bol set a blistering new world record of 49.17.

Nielsen said: “I’ve never been in a world record race before, apart from relays. It is so fast, I couldn’t believe how close I was to them at the break. I am so proud of the way I ran that race. I knew from lane two that everyone would be coming in and I wanted to hold that inside line.

“I did so well to try and stay as close as I could with them. Before this champs I have never raced Femke Bol, my sister has over the hurdles. It’s just amazing to be in the mix with a world-class athlete like that. She is an incredible, incredible athlete and to only finish a few places behind bodes really well for my summer.

“I am very hungry now. I think it is three times I have finished fourth but that is the least painful fourth place. I don’t think I could have run faster than that. I gave it everything.”

Muir settled towards the back at the start of the women’s 3000m final as Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech stretched out the race single file. Muir slowly started moving up the field while teammate Nuttall placed herself at the rear as she ran her own race.

World champion Gudaf Tsegay would soon hit the front as Muir kept gradually picking off places with eight laps to go before a group of eight broke away with the British hope very much part of it on her home track.

Eight would become five as the laps started to tick by with Muir dropped from that group however she kept battling for the entire race ‒ dicing with fifth and sixth but crossing the line in fifth in a season’s best 8:29.76.

Muir said: “I knew I couldn’t go off too fast that first 1km. I have made that mistake before. I was catching but I just couldn’t go with it that first 1km otherwise I knew I would be out of the back door.

“I just had to try and run my own race and unfortunately the pace I was running at and the pace they were running at was different. That is endurance racing for you. I tried the best that I could on the day and that’s all I can do.

“I am in a really good place ahead of the Olympics this summer and I am really excited. I am so pleased I could run here. You can aim for a champs but you are never sure what can happen. I am pleased that I am here and I am racing, I am fit and I am healthy. I would have loved to got on the podium and got the medal tally started but it isn’t too bad.”

British teammate Nuttall would fight to 12th overall in that women’s 3000m final on her World Indoor Championships debut in 8:48.24. She said: “It wasn’t a shock because I knew it was going to be quick but it was a shock to the legs for sure.

“The first two laps I was like ‘OK, this is what’s happening, it’s going to be quick’. I was just hanging on the whole time and trying to stay with the group as much as I could. I didn’t really perform how I wanted to but I gave it my best shot and that is all I can do.

“I am disappointed but I am fine with my performance. I need to get better and get used to these races because I want to perform with these girls. I just need to get back to training. I am proud that I went for it and that I won’t be scared to do it again. That is what I will take from it, don’t be scared and just go for it.”

On an action-packed night of finals action for British athletes, David King (Tim O’Neil; City of Plymouth) was the first out as he attempted to qualify for the men’s 60m hurdles medal showdown having been sixth two years ago in Belgrade.

King ran a similar race to his heat in the second of three semi-finals however it was just short of him progressing, his time of 7.65 seconds placing him fifth in that race and 14th overall, short of what was needed.

He said: “I am a little disappointed with it. I came into this event wanting to do better than that. I ran faster in the heats and I felt really good in the warm-up. But for whatever reason it didn’t come together during the race.

“I felt like I got out relatively well but I will have to watch it back properly to understand what happened. I am very consistent around the 7.60s but it takes a really good run to get into the 7.50s. So it wasn’t quite the run I know I can do, but it was a consistent showing.”


The Great Britain and Northern Ireland medal tally:

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