9:00am Monday 25th June 2012
Oxfordshire hurdler Lawrence Clarke is on his way to the Olympics.
The 22-year-old could not hide his joy after finishing runner-up in the 110m hurdles behind training partner Andy Pozzi in the 2012 Aviva Olympic Trials at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium yesterday.
And former Radley athlete Hatti Archer could still make the Great Britain team after finishing second in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase.
Clarke, from Christmas Common, near Watlington, was running in an Oxfordshire vest for the first time – and rose to the occasion.
The fastest qualifier for the final in 13.38, Clarke held off world bronze medallist Andy Turner to secure his Olympic spot.
“I couldn’t be more delighted,” said Clarke. “I am so relieved.
“Standing on that start line when you know you have the A standard, but need to get in the top two – it is one of the worst feelings on the planet.
“But when I crossed that line and knew I was second, I just ran after Pozz and said ‘you do realise where we are going’. I am so happy.
“It is a dream come true. Four years ago, I was 63rd in the country and I didn’t even train.
“I didn’t even watch the Olympic Games.”
Archer, formerly Dean, needed to achieve the qualifying time of 9mins 43secs to ensure her spot.
However, her time of 10.02.35 saw her finish behind Eilish McColgan (9.56.89) – the daughter of former 10,000m world champion Liz McColgan.
Racing for the first time this season, Archer led for the first six laps before McColgan pulled away at the bell.
“Two days ago I didn’t think I was going to be able to race,” said Archer. “I had a hip injury four weeks ago. It was really niggly.
“Four days ago, it flared up again and I wasn’t sure I would make it.
“It was probably a good race for the shape I was in, but I am still disappointed.”
Radley’s Richard Baderin, 29, finished seventh in heat one of the 110m hurdles in 14.93secs, while clubmate Ashley Johnson, 26, was eighth in the same heat as Clarke, clocking 15.07.
Oxford City’s David Gain, 21, finished sixth in heat three of the 200m, clocking 21.59secs.
Rory Graham-Watson, from Bicester, ran a season’s best of 1min 50.54secs in heat one of the 800m.
Oxford City’s 1,500m world silver medallist Hannah England missed the trials with an Achilles injury, while clubmate, triple jumper Nathan Douglas, was also ruled out through injury – and is all but certain to miss London 2012.
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