Doyle delight at Olympic final spot

Eilidh Doyle is through to the Olympic final
Eilidh Doyle is through to the Olympic final

Cumbernauld’s Eilidh Doyle is through to the final of the Olympic 400 metres hurdles.

The 29-year qualified as a fastest loser after a nervous wait following her third place in the second of three semi-finals in Rio in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The reigning European champion looked set to seal one of the two automatic qualifying slots in the second of three semi-finals in Rio.

However, Ashley Spencer of the USA made an incredible recovery from clipping a hurdle on the home straight with a raw speed finish that pushed the Briton down into third.

That meant she had to wait for the outcome of the third and final semi before finding out where her time of 54.99 seconds proved enough for her to take her place in the final in the early hours of Friday morning UK time.

Fastest qualifier was Dalilah Muhammad of the United States whose 53.89 seconds was over half a second quicker than anyone else.

For her part Doyle said she was delighted to be a part of the final after failing to reach that stage at London 2012.

She said: “It wasn’t the best way to get into the final but at least I’ve got there. I stepped off the track knowing I’d given everything there. I actually executed the race really well. It was a really good stride pattern, nice and smooth.

“I think the only thing was I tired up a little bit towards the end as I was fighting for that line. I was quite tired coming back in off [the heats] as well. I think you saw that in all the times. Nobody ran what they were running this year.

“I’ve made it now. I can go back. I’ve got a day off. I can relax, recover and get ready for the final. Malcolm [Arnold, coach] will be happy with that run. A lot happier than he was after the heats anyway. I think I can go into the final confident now.

“It’s the best feeling ever to have made the Olympic final. I’m just delighted. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. People obviously see you as ranked sixth in the world but it doesn’t really mean anything when you get to the Olympics because everybody raises their game.

“So I’m just glad I’ve put myself in the position where I can now go and challenge in the final. It’s completely open – nobody is dominating the event so I think it’s just about who gets it right on the day.”