OXFORDSHIRE hurdler Lawrence Clarke qualified comfortably for the semi-finals of the 110 metre hurdles in Rio last night, writes STUART WEIR.

The 26-year-old, from Christmas Common, near Watlington, who is competing at his second Olympic Games, finished third in his heat in 13.55secs.

Torrential rain caused the event to be suspended for 15 minutes after the second heat and Clarke hinted he may have surprised a few people by making tomorrow morning's semi-finals.

He said: “To be honest, I was pretty nervous on the start line. I have worked four years for this.

"I got a remarkably good start and I realised I was in the right place and decided not to take any risks and run a very smooth race and to secure my place in the semi-final which on paper I wasn’t supposed to make.

"I am now where it really matters and anything can happen in the hurdles."

The former Summer Fields School, Summertown, pupil, added: "I feel very comfortable.

"I think I was a bit high on the hurdles, but an Olympic semi-final - I reckon if I run my best I am in with a shout."

The semi-finals are at 12.40am, with the final at 2.45am.