Laura Muir and Zharnel Hughes started their World Athletics Championship campaigns in fine style in the opening evening session of action in Oregon.

In the women’s 1500m, Olympic silver medallists Laura Muir (Andy Young, Dundee Hawkhill) finished second behind Ethiopia’s Hirut Meshesha in heat one in a time of 4:07.53 to safely seal her place in Saturday evening’s semi-finals.

“I’ve only got 24 hours to wait until the next round rather than 36. It’s usually morning to next day evening but this one is evening to evening so it’s a quick turnaround,” commented Muir. 

“It took a little while to get up and running at the start of the summer but that’s to be expected with such a big summer, I wanted to make sure I could peak later on right now and I’m feeling really good now.”

Also making her way through to the semi-finals was Katie Snowden (Herne Hill) after a battling display in Heat two. Snowden finished tenth but her time of 4:06.92 was enough to see her progress as one of the non-automatic qualifiers after a tricky build-up to her first World Athletics Championships.

Snowden said, “I started the season really well out in America, but unfortunately an injury I had at the start of the year flared up again and that set me back again.

“Then I had covid which meant missing the British Champs. It’s been a rough month but the last couple of weeks I was definitely getting back to my usual self so hopefully, I’ll go better tomorrow.”

Melissa Courtney-Bryant’s (Rob Denmark, Poole) campaign came to an end after her clocking of 4:09.07 saw her finish 11th in the third and final heat.

In the men’s 100m, Hughes (coach: Glen Mills, club: Shaftesbury Barnet) equalled his season’s best of 9.97s (+0.1) to ease his way into the semi-finals, finishing second behind America’s Fred Kerley who ran 9.79.

Reflecting on his performance, Hughes said, “I trust in my ability, and I’m pleased with how I ran today. I just need to focus on the race, focus on the gun, and get the job done. I am really excited to compete again on this fast track.”

Also in action was Reece Prescod (Marvin Rowe, Enfield and Haringey) whose 100m campaign came to an end after his time of 10.15s (+0.2) saw him finish fourth in his heat, just being pipped to a non-automatic qualifying spot. 

Meanwhile, Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson, Blackburn Harriers) withdrew from the women’s pole vault as a precaution after feeling discomfort after snapping a pole during her warm-up.

Bradshaw said: “The last jump of the warm-up my pole snapped in half and then I landed kind of in the box. It’s a bit of a blur to me as I was rotating and landed quite high on the back of my neck.

“I didn’t land on the floor, but I slid down and did a bit of a number on my back. Initially I had a pain through my wrist from the vibrations of it breaking and then something going on with my hamstring which I was striding [at] 70% OK, but when I tried to up the intensity to over 80% I couldn’t.”

Molly Caudrey (Scott Simpson, Thames Valley) was also in pole vault action, at her maiden global championships, but a clearance of 4.20m was not enough to see the European U23 silver medallist progress through to the final.

“It was a good experience and I’ve got a lot more to look forward to later in the summer with the Commonwealths and Europeans, and Worlds next year, so it’s not the end,” said Caudrey.

“I made the move to Loughborough two years ago and I think that is one of the best decisions I made. I train with Scott (Simpson) and Holly (Bradshaw), and I think that has really helped me. My consistency is better and I’ve dedicated more of my time to athletics. It is paying off because I am here at a World Championships which I am super grateful for.”

Elsewhere, Sophie McKinna (Paul Wilson, Great Yarmouth) and Amelia Strickler (Zane Duquemin, Thames Valley) were in women’s shot put qualifying.

Both of their campaigns came to an end on Friday night with Strickler’s best effort of 17.40m and McKinna’s best effort of 17.21m outside the top 12 positions to advance to Saturday’s final. 

Later in the program in the men’s shot put, Scott Lincoln’s (Paul Wilson, City of York) best throw of 19.97m also saw him bow out at the qualification stage.