Elliot Giles (coach: Jon Bigg; club: Birchfield) surged up the all-time world indoor rankings with a record-breaking display, while Jamie Webb (Adrian Webb; Liverpool) added to the stellar accomplishments in the historic 800m race at the World Indoor Tour gold meeting in Torun.
Giles’ time of 1:43.63 was the second fastest time ever indoors, and in the process, he eclipsed the British indoor record previously held by Sebastian Coe.
The Birchfield Harrier has been in supreme form during the 2021 season, winning back-to-back World Indoor Tour gold meetings in Karlsruhe and Lievin, and he continued his impressive streak in Torun, the host city for next month’s European Athletics Indoor Championships.
Giles and Jamie Webb dominated the contest, sitting closely behind the pacemaker in the early stages. As the pacer stepped aside, the British duo battled over the penultimate lap to gain the advantage heading into the final lap. As the bell rang, Giles opened a gap on his compatriot, and showed his strength to set the record-breaking time, while Webb was second in a huge PB of 1:44.54 which moved him second in the UK-all time indoors list.
Giles said afterwards: “I felt in great shape and I thought I could win this year, but I’m overwhelmed right now with the time I ran! I didn’t really set out to run a fast time, I was just executing my tactics, follow the pace and then make a move after 400m.
“Strong domestic competition is something that really motivates us and makes us all better.”
Webb added: “I knew I was in great shape and capable of beating Seb Coe’s national record. But I would never think I could do that and still lose by a second to another Brit!”
Sebastian Coe’s British indoor record – 1:44.91 – had stood since 1983. With the revised time, Giles now sits behind only Wilson Kipketer (DEN) in the world indoor all-time list, while Webb moves into ninth in the rankings.
In the men’s 1500m, Neil Gourley (Ben Thomas) achieved an outright 1500m personal best, clocking 3:35.79 for third. He also improved his indoor career best by over three seconds.
It was an assured performance by the Giffnock North athlete who came home narrowly behind Marcin Lewandowski (POL) who also recorded a PB. As Salemon Barega (ETH) recorded a PB of 3:32.97 for victory, the rest of the field pushed to a flurry of lifetime bests in a ferociously fast contest. With it, Gourley moved to fifth on the UK indoor all-time rankings.
Ryan Thomas Williams