Athletics: Scots still in the hunt for GB berths

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Though no Scot staked a claim for inclusion in the British team for next month’s World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, there was some real encouragement for Scottish athletics in the placings at the UK Championships in Sheffield at the weekend.

Nearest to a breakthrough were Claire Gibson (Kilbarchan), the only Scot to win a title, the women’s 1500 metres in 4:17.38, outside the World qualifying standard, and Guy Learmonth (Lasswade), who was second in the 800m in 1:49.63, a second outside the qualifying time.

Learmonth has now heard that he may not get an invitation to the Birmingham Games next weekend. Only Cardiff’s Joe Thomas, the impressive winner yesterday who has already achieved the mark three times, is automatically in the team.

“If he doesn’t get an invite then Guy’ll run in the Scottish Indoors in Glasgow next Sunday and try to get the time running solo,” said his coach Henry Gray.

Kris Gauson (Edinburgh AC) knows he has burnt his boats as far as Istanbul is concerned after finishing only fourth in the 1500m final in 3:47.13 yesterday. A comfortable heat winner on Saturday, USA-based Gauson appeared to be ideally placed but faded over the last 400 metres.

“I put myself in all the right spots to go and win the race and stuck to my game plan but with 400 to go I just didn’t have it in me.”

Meanwhile his club-mate Chris O’Hare was sixth in the Wanamaker Mile in the Millrose Games in New York on Saturday night in 3:56.63, just fractionally outside his best time of 3:56.48, with Ireland’s David McCarthy eighth, but he was really disappointed, especially as his close rival Miles Batty (Brigham Young), the NCAA Indoor 1500 champion, broke the National Collegiate record with a time of 3:54.54 behind winner Matt Centrowitz (3:53.92).

Former Capital star Mark Mitchell made a big breakthrough at Sheffield, hacking over seven seconds off his best 3000 metres time to take the bronze medal in 7:59.00.

Also in fifth spot, Gregor MacLean set a Scottish record of 5.35m in the pole vault while Lisa Ferguson (EAC) reached a personal best of 6.11m in the long jump for fourth and Jayne Nisbet a season’s best of 1.79m for sixth in the high jump.