Lawrence Clarke was struggling to come to terms with what he achieved after finishing fourth in the Olympic 110m hurdles final.

The 22-year-old, from Christmas Common, near Watlington, has made huge strides this year, culminating with last night’s incredible achievement in the Olympic Stadium.

Clarke clocked a personal best 13.31secs to qualify as a fastest loser from his semi and then ran 13.39 and claimed fourth in the final, won by American Aries Merritt in 12.92.

“It is wierd, because I am on such a high, but at the same time I am just so knackered that I feel like I am about to pass out,” said an elated Clarke.

“It is the most surreal feeling. When I crossed the line, the crowd went nuts.”

He added: “It hasn’t sunk in. I don’t think it ever will. That crowd was unbelievable.

“It was 80,000 people going nuts.

“It felt like it was building up and building up and building up.

“I got an amazing start. I clashed arms slightly with the guy next to me, but it didn’t really affect me.

“I was quite a long way off the medals. The race pretty much was for fourth place. There were two people who dipped with me and I didn’t see that until I saw the replay.”

Clarke, who won Commonwealth Games bronze in 2010, had not broken 13.50secs before this season, but his confidence has grown with his performances.

When he was announced to the crowd for last night’s final, Clarke whipped up the home fans with his arms and delivered on the track.

The former Summer Fields School, Oxford, pupil said: “It has been a dream come true to come to this stage and I was going to make the most of it.

“The crowd have been unbelievable. The support in Britain, I just can’t believe and I just wanted to give them a last hurrah, because this is probably going to be my last time in this stadium until 2017 for the World Championships.”

USA’s Jason Richardson took silver in 13.04, with Jamaica’s Hansle Parchment third in 13.12.