Phil Healy created history at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham by becoming the first Irish female athlete to advance to the 400m semi-final.

The 23-year-old was in a high calibre heat today with Olympic 400m hurdles finalist Eilidh Doyle and world 400m bronze medallist Stephenie Ann McPherson also in heat five.

McPherson won the heat in a season best time of 52.18, with Doyle in second place in a time of 52.31, but the Cork runner came home in third to qualify as one of the six fastest qualifiers.

Healy crossed the line in a time of 52.75 and says her blistering start laid the foundations for her superb race.

"It was a testing first 180m," she said. "I could feel [Doyle and McPherson] at the top coming inside my shoulder, so I had to push for that break because it’s really hard to pass on this track. If I didn’t get to the bend first I knew it was going to cost me."

The Irish athlete says that while making history is a nice achievement, her focus now is very much on the next race, which will take place in this evening's session.

Healy runs in Lane 1 of her semi-final at 8.32pm.

"For the semi-final, I’ll probably have lane one or two, so I’ll have to push it again. It’s about recovery now and getting back out here again for the semi-final," she said.

Elsewhere today, both Ciara Neville and Amy Foster were involved in the 60m heats. Irish junior record holder Neville posted a time of 7.47 to finish in 37th place overall, while new Irish record holder Foster finished nine placed ahead of her team-mate following the conclusion of the heats after a time of 7.35.

"I wanted to do better but it will help to build confidence for the future," Neville said afterwards, while Foster admitted that while it wasn’t a bad run from her perspective, she was hoping to do better.

Ciara Mageean will be in action at 7.58pm in heat three of the women’s 1500m.