Global medal for Marc Scott at the World Indoor Championships

marc scott

The World Championships in Belgrade proved a tall order for the best in Britain with injury proving a limiting factor for some of the potential medallists including  Keely Hodgkinson and Elliot Giles. There were, however, breakthrough performances including a bronze medal for Marc Scott who won his first global track medal in a terrific tussle with the favourites.

Marc Scott (handicap -6.9) won Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s first medal of the World Athletics Indoor Championships as he timed his race to perfection to claim bronze in the men’s 3000m.

Scott achieved a breakthrough on the world stage as he captured his first senior global medal following a fine display of running. The European indoor record holder over the 5000m distance stayed with the moves made by the other main protagonists including eventual gold and silver medallists, Selemon Barega (ETH) and Lamecha Girma (ETH).

As the laps counted down a group of six including the two Ethiopians, two Kenyan athletes (Ebenyo and Krop), Mechaal from Spain, and Scott, broke away from the rest of the field. The Briton checked every move and at the bell, he moved up onto the shoulder of the leading pair and started his decisive move. It paid off as he held on for a first world indoor bronze medal in a time of 7:42.02.

He said afterwards, “I’m very tired but obviously really pleased to come away with a medal. That was always the intention coming into these championships. I knew I was in good shape I just had to deliver on the day.

“The Ethiopians and Kenyans were just taking it in turns, but I wasn’t getting too worried about that. I knew if I was there with a lap to go, I could come out with a medal because I believe in my finishing speed.

“I had it in my head that I wanted a medal and it weighed pretty heavily at times. You never know what’s going to happen in these races. I knew if I could get around a lot of bodies going into the last lap it would be very hard for them to come back past me. The race was choppy and bruising but that’s the way it goes. I have blood on my shin, but I can’t feel that now. I’m sure I will later when all this sinks in. It’s doesn’t dampen anything, and the pain is worth it to come away with a medal.

“I’ve always believed this is my level, but I always had minor setbacks going in to the major championships. This year I knew I could compete. It gives me great confidence going forwards.”

Neil Gourley (handicap -5.8) looked to be in supreme form as he booked his spot in the 1500m final. And so it proved as he took his best global finish at a World Championship. World Championship finalist from Doha, Gourley, took sixth place in a fast and furious men’s 1500m final, clocking 3:35.87 in the process.

As Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR) took things on from the front early on, Gourley reacted smartly to keep himself on the chasing pack as the pace continued to ramp up with 400m to go. At the bell, Gourley dug in once again as it became a four-way scrap for bronze, but the Briton found himself run out of things as Samuel Tefera (ETH) retained the title in a championship record of 3:32.77.

After the race, Gourley said: “It was incredibly tough and was pushed hard from the gun which I thought would happen and I don’t think anyone was surprised by the fact it went out hard and that Jakob [Ingebrigtsen] took it on.

“It’s the style of race that I’m getting better at. The more aerobically strong I get the better I can handle it and that showed today as I was able to get sixth place, but there are some mixed emotions that I couldn’t get nearer the medals but I have to be happy with that.

“When I was young, all I ever wanted out of the sport was to represent my country one day, maybe get a Scotland vest and that would have been enough for me and I could have called myself a good athlete and had a good career.

“Everything else is a bonus and it’s just about paying back the people that have put their faith in me at this point. Sixth in the world I wouldn’t have even dreamed of or thought I was talented enough.”

Jenny Selman (handicap -1.9) 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 (handicap -1.5), 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.”

European 3000m gold medallist Amy-Eloise Markovc  (handicap -2.1), claimed a respectable 15th position on the world stage in 8:53.57.

In a tempo that ebbed and flowed, Markovc looked smooth early on, but as the pace quickened, the 26-year-old found herself run out of things as the pack got more and more strung out.

Markovc assessed: “I was trying to get position and then I felt like as I was trying to move out my legs just didn’t have it which is really frustrating because I know from training I’m in the best shape of my life.

“I knew I was ready for a really big one but I’m just annoyed. I knew it was going to be messy because there were 20 women which is a massive amount indoors and it went out a bit slower than I anticipated.

“I’m disappointed I couldn’t do it today when it mattered but I have to learn from it and try not to hold my head down.”

Guy Learmonth (handicap -6.2)  and Charlie Da'Vall Grice (handicap -5.9) did not progress to the men’s 800m final, and sadly Elliot Giles (handicap -6.8), following warm-up, was forced to withdraw prior to his heat with a back injury.

With only the top two qualifying automatically into the final, the athletes knew what to do to be back in the showpiece final. In heat one, despite a strong effort, Guy Learmonth finished third in a time of 1:49.13, with Noah Kibet (KEN) and Bryce Hoppel (USA) securing the top two positions. Grice was in heat three and came home in sixth position in a time of 1:50.17, so he did not progress.

Earlier in the women’s 1500m heats, Erin Wallace (handicap -1.2 ) finished fifth in her heat but did not progress to the final. In a heat won by Ethiopia’s Axumawit Embaye, the Scottish athlete crossed the line in