European Indoor Championships: Neil Gourley Wins 1500m Silver As Great Britain Claim Three Medals



European Indoor Championships: Neil Gourley wins 1500m silver as Great Britain claim three medals

Britain’s Neil Gourley claimed men’s 1500m silver at the European Indoor Championships while team-mates Daryll Neita and Melissa Courtney-Bryant both won bronze medals in Istanbul.

Gourley chased the quick pace set by Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen but the Norwegian would not let him pass in the closing stages.

Neita clocked 7.12 seconds to place third in the women’s 60m final.

Courtney-Bryant clinched GB’s first medal on Friday in the women’s 3,000m.

Elsewhere, Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam set a new world record of 5055 points in a remarkable women’s pentathlon competition.

In the morning session, Britons Laura Muir, Ellie Baker and Katie Snowden all progressed to Saturday’s women’s 1500m final.

Gourley collects ‘important’ silver

In-form and full of confidence after setting a British record in Birmingham last week, Gourley ran impressively to clock three minutes 34.23 seconds behind four-time European indoor champion Ingebrigtsen.

Ingebrigtsen, who will also attempt to defend his 3,000m title following his double in 2021, set a championship record time of 3:33.95 after front-running the race and holding off Gourley’s challenge in the final stages.

It is a significant first medal at a major championships for Scot Gourley, who was comfortably ahead of France’s bronze medallist Azeddine Habz, however compatriot George Mills finished 11th after suffering a fall early in the race.

“I believed I could do it, I put myself in the right places and I just got beaten by somebody who was better. I have to take that on the chin,” 28-year-old Gourley told BBC Sport.

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“The whole plan was to be out front so I could react to Jakob’s inevitable move and I just didn’t have it today,” he added.

“It was important to win a medal, I hadn’t done that yet – winning a major medal – so it was important to get that started.”

Speaking on BBC TV, Jessica Ennis-Hill said: “He didn’t do anything wrong. He executed the race perfectly. He can come away from the indoor season elated. I think it’s really important going into the summer.”

Neita made to settle for bronze

British champion Neita was ranked second fastest this season coming into the event, behind world champion Mujinga Kambundji, who ultimately swept the competition aside in a dominant 60m final display.

The Swiss athlete equalled the championship record as she took victory in 7.00secs, ahead of Poland’s Ewa Swoboda who crossed the line in 7.09.

A slow reaction time cost Neita, who had made a statement by winning her semi-final in 7.07, following a promising indoor season in which she set a personal best time of 7.05 in Berlin in February.

“It feels amazing to bring a medal home. It’s been a fun indoor season and I’ve really enjoyed it but I’m not particularly happy with this result,” said Neita, who won Commonwealth and European medals last summer.

“Consistency is key. I know this indoor season I’ve been in an amazing place. Today I would have liked more but I’m happy, it’s a bronze medal and I’ve got to be grateful.”

Team-mate Asha Philip, the 2017 European indoor champion, did not qualify for the final.

‘Emotional’ medal for Courtney-Bryant

Melissa Courtney-Bryant also won European indoor bronze in Glasgow in 2019, but her latest achievement meant much more.

Having seen her Olympic dream ended by a serious foot injury in 2021, the Welsh athlete was emotional after finishing behind Germans Hanna Klein and Konstanze Klosterhalfen to make the podium in Istanbul.

Klein moved clear of her compatriot in the closing stages to win in a personal best 8:35.87 after Klosterhalfen’s pace-setting had left only the top three in contention, with Courtney-Bryant staying clear of the rest of the field to finish third in 8:41.19.

“This feels so much sweeter than Glasgow, it’s really emotional in a good way,” said the British athlete.

“After everything with my injury, just to be back here took a lot of belief and support from my coach, my family and my husband.”

Compatriot Hannah Nuttall ran a personal best 8:46.30 to finish fifth.

Further down the field was Turkey’s Emine Hatun Mechaal, who after qualifying on Thursday revealed she knew 50 people who had died in the devastating earthquakes that struck the nation’s southern provinces in February. One euro for every ticket sold at Atakoy Arena is to be donated to relief efforts.

Thiam sets world record in enthralling pentathlon finale

In the space of 6.43 seconds the world record was twice broken in a sensational last event to decide the women’s pentathlon medals.

Double Olympic heptathlon champion Thiam held on to deny Poland’s Adrianna Sulek, moments after the 23-year-old had initially broken the previous 11-year-old mark with a superb solo 800m effort.

Thiam, who lined up for the final event requiring a time of 2:16.51 to better Ukrainian Nataliya Dobrynska’s 5013-point record, made sure of gold with a personal best 2:13.60 – forcing an exhausted Sulek to settle for silver despite finishing well clear of the field in 2:07.17 to end on 5014 points.

Reacting to the race, former Olympic heptathlon champion Ennis-Hill said: “I’m in complete shock. What a race that was. Sulek put it all on the line, she gave it everything. To run that time, break a world record and still not win a medal – that doesn’t happen very often.”

Thiam’s compatriot Noor Vidts took bronze, while Britain’s Holly Mills finished sixth with 4451 points.

British trio progress to 1500m final

Muir, British champion Baker and Snowden will all attempt to win 1500m medals on Saturday after qualifying for the women’s final.

Muir, bidding for her fifth European indoor title in Istanbul, won after a slow pace at the start of her second heat, while Baker progressed by finishing second in the third heat and Snowden was the quickest third-placed finisher overall.

“It’s been a while since I ran at that pace and I think it showed,” said Muir.

“I wasn’t comfortable running at that pace but it is fine. I feel like I conserved as much energy as I could.”

Sprinter Reece Prescod, the fastest man in Europe this year, will contest the men’s 60m along with team-mates Jeremiah Azu and Eugene Amo-Dadzie, while Keely Hodgkinson, Issy Boffey and Guy Learmonth are in 800m semi-final action.

Source – BBC Sport



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