HISTORY was made at Musselburgh Racecourse on Tuesday as the winner of the 150th New Year Sprint became the event’s first double champion in more than 70 years.

Greg Kelly, 19, won the famous race for the second time in three years, as well as making it a hat-trick of titles for East Kilbride AC, with the club’s Calum McWilliam having triumphed 12 months previously, when Kelly had finished fourth.

Both athletes had impressed during the heats at Meadowmill on Sunday.

In front of packed stands at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day, it was Kelly who used his speed and experience to edge out Kelso’s Douglas Young in the final metres to collect the £8,000 first prize.

The achievement of winning the 150th running of the race, as well as becoming the first athlete to win twice in seven decades, wasn’t lost on the student.

He said: “Becoming a double winner was something I really wanted because it hasn’t been done for a long time.

“I was very nervous, but I had a belief that I would do it and you need that – there can’t be any doubt.”

Of the 12 winners and eight fastest losers who progressed from the opening day’s heats, there was little more than three or four metres separating them all on times.

While both Kelly and McWilliam had won their opening races comfortably enough on the synthetic track, so had Young and Hawick’s James Parker. Murray Blair from Lasswade also looked comfortable.

With the move to grass for the cross-ties and the finals, Kelly and McWilliam were inserted as favourites along with Parker.

Kelly claimed the opening cross-tie without too much trouble in 11.79 seconds – easing off as he crossed the line about two metres ahead of Alessandro Schenin from Giffnock.

Veteran Cameron Smith, who had won the veterans’ 90m final on the opening day, was just 100th of a second out of making it through to the final in third.

Teenager Billy Doyle was impressive as he claimed cross-tie two in 11.89 seconds. Young was half a metre back in second place to qualify for the final.

Although cross-tie three was the slowest at 12 seconds, McWilliam and Parker were judged to have dead-heated as they crossed the line together.

Blair staked his claim for the title with an impressive win in cross-tie four, holding off Carlisle’s Joseph Connelly.

The slow time of cross-tie three meant Parker and McWilliam were pushed into the outside lanes for the final. While not conclusive, the seeding probably played its part in them finishing down in sixth and eighth respectively.

Kelly, from the back mark of 5.5 metres, had managed to edge past both McWilliam and Parker, from their 8.5 metre starts, going past the 70m mark.

Only Young in lane seven, running from 9.25m, posed a threat going into the final 20 metres but Kelly held his form well to claim the title with a time of 11.50 seconds.

Schenin was inches behind Young in third, with Blair taking fourth just ahead of Doyle.