Richard Kilty was “heartbroken” after a disputed false start at the British Indoor Championships left his hopes of defending his world 60m title in the balance.
The 26-year-old, angry and upset in equal measure, was left sweating on his place on the Great Britain team for next month’s World Indoor Championships following his disqualification in the 60m semi-final.
James Dasaolu took victory in the final in 6.53sec at the English Institute of Sport to book his place at the global event in Portland. Kilty must rely on the discretion of the selectors for the second available spot.
The reigning European indoor champion, said: “I’m absolutely gutted. If you watch it, I didn’t go before anybody else. I’ve got no reason to false-start in a semi-final where I could have strolled through. I can rely on my reactions, I’m one of the fastest reactors in the world. It’s heartbreaking. It probably looks like I won’t have a chance to defend my world title now.”
However, a Dasaolu win was an advantageous outcome for Kilty, who is likely to take the second spot, even though Andrew Robertson and Sean Safo-Antwi, second and third in 6.54sec and 6.57 respectively, have gone quicker than him this year.
Asked if he had a message for the selectors, Kilty said: “Message is the last two times I’ve been to a championships I’ve never been defeated so hopefully that can sway them. They know who can perform when it matters and that is me.”
Kilty, who was clearly furious and remonstrated with an official as he was led off the track, questioned why other athletes who appeared to suffer similar issues with their starts were let off with a warning and also criticised the size of the blocks.
“I’m just a bit confused at the moment,” he said. “I think it’s a little bit unfair that a couple of people have got away with it and I haven’t.
“They’re very small blocks,” he added. “In the Diamond League you get very big blocks and when you go up, your feet rest on them. But these ones only the ball of your feet gets on them, so your heels are hanging off the back.
Dasaolu’s victory represented a timely return to form after a tortuous 2015 season in which he failed to make it past the 100m heats at the World Championships and had his Lottery funding downgraded.
“It’s very important to be able to sleep at night knowing that your ticket is booked,” he said. “I definitely want to be pushing for a medal at the worlds. Last year was really tough for me. It was just one bad race after another and I couldn’t seem to get it right. I’m just happy to start the season off really well.”
There was a shock in the women’s 60m as Asha Philip beat Dina Asher-Smith to win in 7.10sec and book her place on the plane to Portland. “I was a bit rusty, but I seem to be getting faster so it looks like it’s going well for the World Indoors,” she said. Asher-Smith, second in 7.15sec, is certain to get the second spot.
Andrew Pozzi (7.61sec) edged out Lawrence Clarke (7.65) to win the 60m hurdles, while Lee Emanuel took the 3,000m title in 7min 55.61sec, both men securing qualification.