Glasgow World Indoors five takeaways: King Josh Kerr, Jemma Reekie's real Olympic dream, Femke Bol is star attraction

Glasgow put on a show last weekend as top-class athletics came to town – we take a look at the highlights

Three days of thrilling athletics saw Glasgow deliver another major sporting event in its now familiar style. This time it was the World Athletics Indoor Championships, as some of the world’s best track and field stars descended on the banks of the Clyde.

There were even more eyes than usual on this year’s edition ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics and spectators came away from the Commonwealth Arena with plenty to pore over heading into the summer. Here are five things we learned from Glasgow’s championships.

Kerr is a star

Josh Kerr was outstanding during the men's 3000m final.Josh Kerr was outstanding during the men's 3000m final.
Josh Kerr was outstanding during the men's 3000m final.
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Sport rarely sticks to the script, but in Josh Kerr’s world indoor gold medal in Glasgow, this was a box-office drama delivered to the letter. A last-minute addition to the star-studded cast, Kerr rose to his role as British athletics’ leading man with a storming run in the 3000m to deliver a performance befitting his top billing on Saturday night. The 26-year-old makes no secret that 1500m Olympic gold this summer is his main focus, with his flying visit back home to Scotland merely a cameo in what could be a career-defining year. The roar of the crowd as he powered down the home straight and the ensuing celebrations, replete with his now customary sunglasses and wrapped in a Saltire, will live long in the memory. Victory also added further fuel to the fire in Kerr’s rivalry with reigning Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen, with the pair’s duels over the next few months set to be essential viewing.

“I’m not sure if he watches BBC Two,” joked Kerr when asked on the Norwegian’s reaction to his victory. “We are having a bit of fun back and forth, hopefully it keeps you guys interested, but I am more looking forward to the head-to-head than all the comments. It’s a bit of fun isn’t it. I’m putting these performances together for myself not anyone else. I am really becoming the athlete I have always wanted to be.”

Caudery can win gold

If Kerr was the star attraction, pole vaulter Molly Caudery was the perfect support act on a super Saturday, as the 23-year-old sealed her first global gold just 35 minutes after Kerr crossed the line. It sent the Glaswegian crowd into overdrive as they witnessed two British world champions on the same night, with Caudery’s performance confirming a new star in British athletics whose rise shows no signs of stopping.

Femke Bol lit up the Emirates Arena with her performances.Femke Bol lit up the Emirates Arena with her performances.
Femke Bol lit up the Emirates Arena with her performances.

The Cornish athlete was on few radars outside of athletics heading into this Olympic year, but now must be considered a real medal contender at the Games following her astounding start to 2024. She has twice raised the bar to world leading heights this year and usurped Olympic medallists Eliza McCartney and 2020 champion Katie Moon to gold in Glasgow.

Whisper it quietly but gold in Paris would make her the first-ever British Olympic pole vault champion, and only the second medallist behind Holly Bradshaw’s bronze in Tokyo. She would also become the first British female Olympic champion in the field since Tessa Sanderson in Los Angeles 1984.

But while others may get carried away, the alarmingly affable Caudery is keeping her feet on the ground. She said: “I have got such a great support team around me and they are never going to let my head get too big or anything like that. I am just so grateful to be where I am, that will keep me grounded too and never take anything for granted.”

Olympic dream is real for Reekie

Jemma Reekie did not come away from Glasgow with the colour of medal she wanted, but that in itself is a reflection of the level at which she now operates. Reekie took home silver in the women’s 800m, with the local hero unable to convert on her pre-race tag of favourite on Sunday evening, with Ethiopia’s Tsige Duguma edging her out for gold.

The Scot admitted it showed she had plenty to learn in terms of her racecraft between now and August, where she will hope to be amongst a sublime scrap for an Olympic medal alongside fellow Brit Keely Hodgkinson. The pair will have to get past Olympic champion Athing Mu and world champion Mary Moraa but Reekie has shown the kind of pace indoors that suggests she will be in with a chance, even if she will arrive as the outside bet.

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If she needs any further fuel as she goes through the hard yards this spring, it will be the what if of missing out on a world gold medal on her home track and her chance to repeat Kerr’s celebrations in front of an adoring crowd. A medal in Paris would be redemption and some.

Femke Bol is brilliant

There was no shortage of international stardust in Glasgow, with some of the sport’s biggest names strutting their stuff in search of world gold. They don’t get much bigger these days than American sprinter Noah Lyles, who earned silver in the 60m and 4x400m, while Swedish pole vault legend Mondo Duplantis wowed the crowd with another attempt at a world record 6.24m en route to gold. There were also the theatrics of Tara Davis-Woodhall, who capped off long jump gold with her customary cowboy hat.

But for all the bluster and bravado of some, the undisputed star was Femke Bol. The Dutch runner is more reserved than many others but leaves her talking for the track, where she once again put the world on notice. This time it was a world record in the women’s 400m despite rarely looking out of breath, before anchoring her nation to an assured victory in the 4x400m relay. The 24-year-old insisted she won’t contest the 400m at the Olympics, favouring the hurdles in which she is world champion; her battle with Olympic champion and world record holder Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone will be mouthwatering.

Glasgow delivers again

Glasgow is no stranger to major international sporting events, and for good reason as the city once again showed how they are done. Since the Commonwealth Games in 2014, there has been a steady stream of sports coming to the west of Scotland to hosts its flagship events, including the multi-sport European Championships in 2018, the 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships and last year’s Cycling World Championships. This time around, the crowd was the standout performer with its noisy atmospheres on all three nights providing a real lift to the championships. It came into its own on Saturday night as it roared home its favourite son in Kerr, the image of him wrapped in one of the many Saltires in the crowd will be an enduring one heading into the summer.

The world’s best athletes head to Scotland for the World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow 24 from 1-3 March and you can keep up to date with the latest on the World Athletics website, its associated platforms and via broadcasters around the world.

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