Iwan Thomas reacted with delight last night after hearing that he had been given 11th hour clearance to run the individual 400 metres in the World Championships starting in Edmonton on Friday.
The 27-year-old Commonwealth and European champion had been selected only for the relay after failing to achieve the qualifying mark of 45.72sec by last Sunday's deadline. But after running 45.70 in a race he set up for himself at Watford the day after the closing date he has been accepted as a late inclusion by a meeting of the International Amateur Athletic Federation's technical committee in Edmonton.
"This is the best news I've had in two years," said Thomas, who is due to fly out to Canada today. "I've been playing a bit of golf since my run in Watford and trying hard not to think about things. But I have been so nervous over the past few days, and now I am just over the moon. After two years of bad luck with injuries I think this could be the turning point for me."
Thomas, whose career has been undermined by injuries since his all-conquering year of 1998, cut a dejected figure at Crystal Palace on Sunday night after failing to qualify with what he assumed was his last opportunity. But on the day he arranged a run at Watford simply to prove a point to himself, drumming up seven of his friends to run with him, the world indoor champion Daniel Caines announced he was withdrawing with a calf injury and suddenly an unexpected window of opportunity opened.
A phone call from Max Jones, the UK Athletics Performance Director, last night confirmed that it was a window he had managed to dive through. "After Sunday, when I ran like an idiot, I thought I at least knew where I stood. But now I feel it's almost like I've been given a wild card to the championships, like Goran Ivanisevic. He got in and won Wimbledon, and I'm taking inspiration from him.
"My training times have indicated that I am capable of going a lot faster than I have managed in competition this season, and now my confidence is growing. When it comes to championship runs I get better with every round."
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