NEIL GOURLEUY looks quite at home with the maestros of middle-distance running after taking sixth place in the men’s 1500 metres final at the world indoor championships. Only small gaps must next be closed to threaten rather than chase.

The Glaswegian clocked 3:37.87 in Belgrade last night as Ethiopia’s Samuel Tefera pipped Norway’s Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen to gold. Not far off their pace, Gourley is now firmly in the mix.

“It's the style of race that I'm getting better at,” he said. “The more aerobically strong I get, the better I can handle it and that showed as I was able to get sixth place. There are some mixed emotions that I couldn't get nearer the medals. But I have to be happy with that.”

The 27-year-old will now return to his altitude base in Arizona with plans to race on the American circuit. But he will target June’s British trials and the opportunity of a gruelling treble of worlds, Europeans and Commonwealths inside five weeks in the summer.

“It works out in terms of order of importance,” he conceded. “Personally, I'm going to fling everything I've got at qualifying for those and competing in those World Championships. That's the whole focus. And then once you're fit, you're fit. And if you can handle the travel, if you can handle going back to Birmingham for the Commonwealths after Oregon, I think that rolls quite nicely.

“The best preparation I find for championship racing is championship racing. So I think the fact that rolls straight into that is good. And then European Championships would be a bonus.”

Two days after exiting the 800m in the heats, Guy Learmonth answered an SOS to anchor a depleted British line-up in the men’s 4x400m relay. But the Borderer faded from third to sixth in the last 50m of the final as Belgium edged Spain for gold.

GB&NI broke their duck with two bronzes on the concluding day through Lorraine Ugen in the women’s long jump and Marc Scott in the men’s 3000m. Ugen leapt a best of 6.82m as Ivana Vuleta gifted hosts Serbia a gold. While earlier, Marc Scott was third in 7:42.02 behind Selemon Barega and his compatriot Lemacha Girma whose 1-2 for Ethiopia helped their nation to top the overall medal table.

“I had it in my head that I wanted a medal and it weighed pretty heavily at times,” Scott admitted. “You never know what's going to happen in these races. I knew if I could get around a lot of bodies going into the last lap it would be very hard for them to come back past me.”

Sweden’s golden boy Mondo Duplantis stole the show at the very last by clearing 6.20m to break his pole vault world record. It was one of three all-time indoor bests yesterday with Venezuela’s Yulimas Rojas dominating the women’s triple jump with a mark of 15.74m while American Grant Holloway ran 7.29 secs in the semis of the men’s 60m hurdles before victory in the final.