NICOLE YEARGIN has set her sights on breaking a national record after she reached the 400 metres semi-finals at the World Athletics Championships.

The Pitreavie AAC star was scheduled to run for a place in the final in the early hours of tomorrow morning (Thursday) having come through the heats in her individual event at the weekend.

Nicole, 24, is with the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team at the prestigious meet, which is being held in Oregon, in her native United States, having sealed her place with a silver-medal success at the Müller UK Athletics Championships last month.

She is also set to run in the women’s 4x400m relay – although she won’t have the chance to be involved in the mixed event, after the GB quartet of Zoey Clark, Laviai Nielsen, Joseph Brier and Alex Haydock-Wilson failed to qualify for the final – at the weekend following the conclusion of her individual event.

Nicole, who is eligible to run for both Scotland, who she will go on to represent at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, which begin next Thursday, and GB as her mum, Lynn, is from Dunfermline originally, was pleased with what she described as her “best start ever” in her 400m heat.

Running in the second of six heats, a top-three finish would guarantee progress to the semi-finals, with the six next quickest athletes also advancing.

Currently ranked 19th in the world over the distance, Nicole ran a season’s best time of 51.17 seconds to finish fourth in her heat on Sunday, placing behind race winner Stephenie Ann McPherson, of Jamaica, who ran a season’s best of 50.15; Poland’s Natalia Kaczmarek, who clocked 50.21; and Lieke Klaver, of the Netherlands, who ran a new national record of 50.24.

However, Nicole’s time was one of the quickest six outwith the automatic qualifiers, ensuring her semi-final place, and, speaking to scottishathletics afterwards, she said: “I got out really well, it’s definitely my best start ever.

“I could have pushed a little harder on the end but I knew it was only the prelims and I had two more 400s to run, so I was in a good position and kind of finished it off.

“I’ve got two days to recover, do some shake-outs, and just really get ready to hopefully break a national record.”

Reaching the semi-finals contrasted with her experience in the individual event at last year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, in which a lane infringement saw her disqualified in the heats, before she went on to help GB to fifth- and sixth-place finishes in the women’s and mixed relays.

The World Athletics Championships is being hosted by the United States for the first time and Nicole added: “It’s been good. It’s a lot better I would say than last year because COVID is a little lighter now and I’ve run here before. I’ve run my season’s best on this track so it’s almost like home in a sense.”

The women’s 4x400 relay heats take place in the early hours of Sunday, at 1.10am, with the final taking place during the early hours of Monday, at 3.35am.