27 Aug

Scots shine in Birmingham sun

Scottish athletes more than lived up to heightened expectations when they brought home a impressive haul of 15 medals and several national titles from the Muller British Championships in Birmingham at the weekend.

Their success is all the more impressive considering both the current standard of competition, and the fact that three of our most talented athletes – Laura Muir, Eilidh Doyle and Steph Twell – did not compete.

Winning gold – and the British men’s 5000m title for the third time – Andy Butchart booked his place on the GB and NI team for the World Championships in Doha later this year on Saturday.

Butchart, the favourite for the win going into the event, told scottishathletics: "A confident mindset in the past few races I’ve had has definitely helped me. I’ve had good races all year this year but I’ll be trying to get even fitter and hopefully will go into Doha even more confident."

After a photo finish, Guy Learmonth took silver in the men’s 800m, but still has to make the qualifying time for Doha.

And the medals kept coming on Sunday, with Eilish McColgan storming to the front of the women’s 5000m for the win. McColgan, who will also be heading to Doha, said: "There were five girls in that race that had the qualifying time and I’m over the moon to secure my spot. Every 5000m I’m in good shape but I pick up an injury or an illness and it’s knocked me and I let everyone else dictate the pace and I get out-kicked and I always come second or third every year.

"This year I wanted to make everyone in the race hurt and see how the girls coped. If I exploded and came last, so be it I could say I’d given it a go. I was a little disappointed with the time but I was on my own. It was windy and hot but I have to respect the conditions."

Spectators hoping for a repeat of the Scottish 1-2-3 in the men’s 1500m finals of 2017 and 2018 were not disappointed: Neil Gourley took the gold, Josh Kerr silver and Jake Wightman bronze – with only half a second separating the trio.

Chris O’Hare, who took the win last year, made the final – which included a fifth Scot, Stephen Mackay – but not the podium, finishing sixth. Kerr, who along with Gourley is now guaranteed selection for Doha, said: "It’s a big weight off the shoulders."

Taking silver in the women’s 1500m, Jemma Reekie was understandably ‘pleased to book her ticket to Doha’. Likewise Lynsey Sharp, whose second place finish in the 800m also guarantees her selection.

Although Beth Dobbin lost her 200m title, her second-placed finish will also take her to the World Championships. Zoey Clark took third in the Women’s 400m final with a run of 52.52.

Image: British Athletics/Getty Images via scottishathletics