Giffnock middle-distance runner Neil Gourley has been inspiring local athletes ahead of representing Great Britain at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Qatar next month.

Set to fly out to Doha this week, Gourley will don the team GB vest in the 1500 metre event.

And, ahead of the championships, the 24-year-old returned to one of his training grounds at Eastwood High School to deliver a talk and answer questions from aspiring athletes from Giffnock North Athletics’ Club, which Neil joined at the age of nine. 

Talking to the youngsters about what brought him to the start line at athletics, Gourley also opened up on his scholarship in America, becoming the British Indoor and Outdoor champion and representing Team GB at the World Championships.

Gourley said: “It’s great to give back, in a small way, to the club that have given me so much. I would never have got anywhere in this sport without their help and support over the years.

“I enjoyed talking to the aspiring athletes because I was in their shoes a few years ago. I was ‘spotted’ during a school sports day and someone suggested I come along to try out at Giffnock North and it’s gone from there. A lot of my friends were hoping to be scouted for football clubs at that time too so it was really exciting for me.”

The Giffnock athlete completed his college running career last year after receiving a scholarship and competing for five years at Virginia’s Polytechnic and State University.

His focus, determination and perseverance with the sport has paid off with a Team GB spot and his first heat is set to take place on October 2.

Finishing off his talk, Gourley told the young athletes: “I was never the most talented at athletics, I was always chasing someone but I’m naturally very competitive so I liked that. The more practice and hard work you put into athletics, the better you get and eventually you get what you deserve.”

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