World Indoors – Adam and Neil shine on the track in Belgrade

Saturday 19th March 2022

Above: Adam Thomas and Neil Gourley in action in Belgrade. All photos by Mark Shearman @AthleticsImages with thanks.

Timetable and results

(*Saturday afternoon’s performances will be rounded-up in our second World Champs piece on Sunday.)

The Scots were brilliant in Belgrade this morning, with Adam Thomas and Neil Gourley both making it through their heats at the World Indoor Champs – and a very close-run race for Jenny Selman. That followed strong runs by both Erin Wallace and Guy Learmonth yesterday – while sadly not enough to progress to finals.

Saturday morning

Adam Thomas took 2nd place in his 60m heat in 6.59 – that was enough to win him automatic qualification for the semi-finals at 5.40pm today (Sat). He said: “That was good. I can’t complain. The start wasn’t electric but the transition in upright was good and as soon as I saw the Canadian just in front and I was second, I just shut it off. There were a lot of nerves going into it, a lot of tension and anxiety as it’s the first world champs, but I was expecting that and if you are expecting it then you can handle it a little bit better I think.

“I’ve got things in my locker now that I can use to deal with that sort of pressure and nerves. I am an emotional chap so, for me, it’s about how I manage my emotions on race day is very important. It’s just another race though, the guys are just guys, we are all human, we all make mistakes so let’s just go out in the semi and run fast.”

In the 1500m Neil Gourley worked his way through a close-packed and crowded race to open up a sharp final lap for the win in 3:42.79, securing him a place in the final, at 5.35pm tomorrow (Sun).

He said: “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.”

There was heartbreak for Jenny Selman in the 800m heats – with only two from each race gaining automatic qualification, her 3rd place finish in 2:02.00 meant a long wait in hope of a ‘fastest loser’ spot in the final. The last heat, however, saw Canadian Lindsey Butterworth come in just 1/100th second ahead of Jenny, knocking her out of contention.

Jenny said: “I put myself in a decent position but just didn’t have the strength as the first two girls to get one of those automatic qualifying spots.

“Before this year I hadn’t really done many races with, and I know this sounds a bit stupid, but many races with lots of other people around me. I’ve done time trial-style races and whilst that’s really good it’s totally different to how busy and tactical championship-style races are. So going into the world tour events this year I felt quite unprepared and battered a little bit whereas today I feel like I held my ground a little bit more and I wasn’t just settling for sitting at the back and getting pushed around. I feel like I was a little bit bolder and made sure I was in a good position.

“I always knew it would be really difficult to make the final and you shouldn’t just settle for coming to the champs, but for me it’s my first GB senior vest. I was so happy to get selected and all I wanted to do was come out here and give it my all and feel as though I could come away from the race proud and that I had really put a good effort in regardless of whether I get in the final.”


Erin Wallace was in the 1500m heats – it was a run of 4:12.46 for 5th place – sadly not enough to progress to the final. Superb, however, to see Erin progressing up to compete at senior, World level – plenty more to come from her through this summer and beyond, we’re sure.

She herself was able to reflect on the race as a vital step in the learning process as she moves into senior international ranks – and plans for the future. She said: “I felt like I did everything right but I just didn’t have it in the last 600.

“I feel like I’m getting more used to being around high class competitors – I’ve competed at World Tours and one Diamond League and I don’t get as freaked out by being in the presence of all these big athletes, so I’m enjoying the atmosphere a lot more now.

“I just need to be a bit fitter next time, I just need to run a bit faster and then I’ll go through. The next World Indoors is in Glasgow so that will be the dream race, if I make that team – I would love to do that.”

Then it was Guy Learmonth’s turn, in the 800m heats – he ran a strong race but couldn’t push quite hard enough to come through in the face of a last-lap surge from Kenya’s Noah Kibet, which relegated him into 3rd place. With only two from each heat qualifying for finals, Guy’s finish in 1:49.13 was sadly not enough to move through.

Guy said: “I did everything right, it was all about positioning unfortunately the last 50m, I just couldn’t come through. These qualifications are brutal and unfortunately I was third today and it’s only the top two.

“I ran well, it’s been an OK indoor season but I really wanted to be in that final so obviously I am really disappointed. Just got to get ready for a big summer now.”

Tags: Adam Thomas, Erin Wallace, Guy Learmonth, Jenny Selman, Neil Gourley, World Indoor Championships, World Indoor Champs, World Indoors, World Indoors 2022

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