Neil Gourley admitted he blew his shot at European Indoor Championship glory last night after he slumped to 11th in the 1500 metres final in Torun.

Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski defended the title he won two years ago in Glasgow after Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who landed silver then, was stripped of victory for stepping off the track.

But Gourley was left in a hopeless game of catch-up against the leaders following a nightmare start which he confessed was self-inflicted, fading from fifth on the last lap as his hopes imploded.

“It wasn’t tactics,” said the 26-year-old Glaswegian who was robbed of a medal shot by illness in 2019 after reaching the final.

“I stumbled off the start line and it lost me a lot of ground. But these things happen in indoor 1500m running. You need to be ready for that. I really worked hard to get back to the elite group. But I had to do too much because of a stupid error coming off the start line. I’ve ran in two many tactical 1500 metre races to make that mistake. That was poor and there’s no-one else to blame but me.

“I got within striking distance, but I’d worked far too hard to do it. I was completely forcing it. I had to try. I put myself in a position but truthfully I was spent by the time I got back to them after making that mistake at the start. And the wheels came off. I didn’t have anything and there was still 200m to go.”

Now he will return to his base in the United States and get ready for his shot at making the Olympic team this summer in an event where at least four Britons will expect to hunt the three seats on offer on the plane.

“I have blown this opportunity so I have to make the most of other ones this summer,” he said.

Guy Learmonth insisted he will not get distracted by athletics’ latest shoe controversy after making a winning start in the 800-metre heats.

The Borderer, 28, surged clear of world indoor champion Adam Kszczot to dominate his opening heat in 1:49.66 and move into this evening’s semis along with British team-mate Jamie Webb.

Despite fears that the latest Nike spikes will see the record books ripped up, Learmonth claims it is noise he needs to block out.

“I’ve just found out I can mute people on Twitter and it’s been amazing,” he said. “I’m trying to really shut down things and focus. I’m in a really good place in my life at the moment.

“It is what it is with the shoes. I’m not going to worry about it. I’m just going to go and race. That’s the beauty of championship racing. It’s not paced racing. It’s not Diamond Leagues. It’s about who races the best. This is going to be true-run races with rounds and the final. It’s not about being the fastest, it’s about winning.”

Spain’s Alvaro de Arriba, who took gold in Glasgow two years ago, crashed out in the opening round.

Amy-Eloise Markovc bagged the UK’s first gold by succeeding Laura Muir as champion in the women’s 3,000m.

The 25-year-old, who moved from Manchester to the USA aged two, held on in a sprint to clock 8:46.43 with Welshwoman Verity Ockenden nudged into bronze by France’s Alice Finot by just six-hundredths of a second.

“It feels amazing,” Markovc said. “To have the flag draped round your shoulders is why you do this. I am so pleased. I had to stay calm and confident. I knew we were moving at a good pace.

“I will probably do the 5,000m in Tokyo. Hopefully I will make the team. I will give it my best shot.”