Andy Butchart savours the moment (photo courtesty of British Athletics via Getty Images)
Andy Butchart claimed his place at the London 2017 World Champs and then insisted he can’t wait to sabour the atmosphere.
The Scot who finished sixth in the 5000m final at his first Olympics, with a National Record in Rio, successfully took gold at the same distance for the second year in a row in Birmingham.
Butchart had already met the selection standard and thus became the fifth Scot to nail down a place for London – following on from Beth Potter, Robbie Simpson, Callum Hawkins and Laura Muir.
Andy’s gold on the first day of the British Champs added to Nick Percy‘s victory in the men’s discus, again a repeat of 2016; silver medals for Emma Nuttall in the high jump and Rachel Hunter in the hammer; and a bronze for Nikki Manson.
Now the 5000m runner can’t wait to race Sir Mo Farah again at the Olympic Stadium in London in August.
‘To run in the Olympic final in Rio last year was a great experience but this will be something special, too,’ said Butchart, who won in 13.50.56 from Andy Vernon as Luke Traynor took fifth place.
‘It’s London and racing for GB in front of a home crowd so I think the whole atmosphere will be really amazing.
‘I have to get in the final, first, and then see what I can do. It’s always an honour to be on the same track as Mo Farah and for me even to be mentioned in the same sentence as him at times is a thrill.’
Nick Percy was the first Scottish athlete to medal, wrapping up a successful defence of his discus title around 1pm.
Percy threw 60.43 to win it in 2016 but went out to 60.78 this time to see off the challenge of Zane Duquemin and Brett Morse.
The 65m standard for World Champs looks tough but there may be a route into London for Nick via a top-32 IAAF ranking invitiation.
‘If there is an invitation I would definitely take it because it would be so good to throw in London,’ he said.
‘I feel there is a big throw coming but whether or not that makes 65m I don’t know, or just gets me further up the rankings and a possibly the call from the IAAf via a top-32 place.
‘It was a decent test today. Zane represented Great Britain at the Euro Team Champs last week and is a great thrower, so to come out and beat him is good for the confidence.
‘I think we worked out between us that it’s been 5 years since we had all three medallists over 60m here, so that’s a good indicator of where the event is.
‘I’m really happy with that – over the last couple of weeks there have been a lot of downs but now I feel like I’m slowly coming back up. I’ve got six or seven competitions lined up now, so hopefully that mark will come.’
Rachel Hunter’s silver medal – (photo via Twitter)
Rachel Hunter came up with a best throw of 63.27 to take the silver in the women’s hammer as Sophie Hitchon won gold with 67.58m.
There was a fourth place finish for Myra Perkins with 61.27 as she was edged out of the medals by Sarah Holt‘s final throw of 61.53.
Zoey Clark and Kirsten McAslan were in fine form to win their heats and reach the Women’s 400m final on Sunday. Eilidh Doyle was a clear winner in her 400m Hurdles heat while Jack Lawrie progressed to the men’s final in that event, too.
There will be four Scots contesting podium places in the Men’s 1500m at 3.20pm on Sunday in what looks a really exciting race. Jake Wightman and Chris O’Hare won their heats; Josh Kerr took an automatic second place to Charlie Grice; and Neil Gourley joined them via the fastest others slots.
Also through to finals, at 800m, are Lynsey Sharp, Mhairi Hendry and Guy Learmonth, while Jemma Reekie and Steph Pennycook each came up with PBs to reach the 1500m final.