Lawrence Clarke said he had gone from tears to cheers after reaching the Olympic 110m hurdles semi-finals.

The 22-year-old, from Christmas Common near Watlington, produced a very solid race to finish second in his heat and qualify for Wednesday night’s semis (7.15).

Clarke clocked 13.42secs to come home behind American world champion Jason Richardson, who recorded a time of 13.33.

Last year, the former Summer Fields School, Oxford pupil crashed out in the first round of the World Championships in Daegu, but he has come along way since then.

“I am so relieved,” said Clarke, who ran the ninth fastest heat time.

“You come on that start line in the first round and people won’t remember you if you go out then.

“In Daegu, I went out in the first round and coming through the mixed zone was the worst experience of my life.

“I went out in tears afterwards.

“I had a good race today. I had a clean race and that was what I was determined to do here.”

Clarke has had a fine season, during which he has cut his personal best to 13.33.

He looked a little nervous on the start line, but clearly relished his Olympic debut.

“It was emotional, that’s for sure,” said “It was emotional, that’s for sure,” said Clarke.

“It has been a massive journey for me over the last two years. It has been a major improvement.

“I can’t believe that my coach Malcolm Arnold has brought me to that start line.

“He said to me today just before I went out on the track: ‘England expects every man will do his duty’.

“I have done my duty. I have made it through to the semi-final.”

Clarke’s joy at making it through was tempered by training partner Andy Pozzi pulling up injured in his heat.

“I am really disappointed, because Andy is a really close friend of mine,” said Clarke.

“We trained together all year and wanted to be here together. Our dream was to have three Brits in the final.”

The third man Clarke was referring to, Andy Turner, won his heat in 13.42 – the same race that saw 2004 Olympic champion and former world record holder Liu Xiang go out injured.

Meanwhile, Henley’s Welsh international Sarah Thomas bids for a place in the women’s hockey final on Wednesday when GB take on Argentina.