By Owen Morgan
A trio of Welsh athletes have fallen agonisingly short in last gasp bids to achieve the World Athletics Championships qualifying standards.
Dai Greene, Bethan Davies and Ieuan Thomas, all needed to gain the qualifying times by midnight on Sunday in order to meet British Athletics’ selection criteria for the Doha championships later this month.
However, there may still be an outside chance of qualification if world athletics’ governing body, the IAAF, allocates further invitations in order to fill any vacant places at the championships.
The 2011 400m hurdle world champion Greene came closest, agonisingly missing out on the qualifying standard of 49.30 by just 0.19 hundredth of a second in Belgium on Sunday afternoon.
After finishing second at last weekend’s British Championships – one of the criteria for automatic selection for the World Championships – Greene vowed to search for a race in order to achieve the required qualifying time having come up just short with a season’s best 49.67.
The Swansea Harrier travelled to the Belgian Championships at the weekend in a bid to achieve the standard following an injury ravaged season which meant he hadn’t run competitively until August 6.
On Saturday, the former British Champion, running as a guest, booked his place in Sunday’s Belgian championship final by winning his heat in a time of 49.80.
And despite the absence of top quality competition to push him on, he went even faster in the final, which he won in another season’s best time of 49.49.
However, his time was still a fraction short of the required qualifying standard, with the GB deadline of midnight, September 1, looming.
Greene must now wait to see whether he may be handed a discretionary invitation by the IAAF – based on world rankings – if there are any remaining quota places left at the end of that organisation’s qualifying period on September 6.
That is how steeplechaser Thomas gained selection for the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London after he had failed to gain the required British qualifying standard.
On Friday night, the Cardiff man took part in a hastily arranged 3000m steeplechase at the Tonbridge Twilight Invitational meeting with a view to giving him and British Championships silver medallist Phil Norman an opportunity of achieving the qualifying time.
The call had gone out for quality steeplechasers to take part at short notice in a bid to push British Championships bronze medallist Thomas and Norman to fast times.
Norman won the race in a time of 8:29.54, just over half a second outside the required standard, with Thomas finishing second in 8:39.15.
On Sunday, race-walker Davies was in Switzerland chasing the 20km qualifying mark of 1:33.30.
The Cardiff Athlete, whose early season was hampered by illness, had finished second at the British race-walking trials, but needed to lower her season’s best to meet the qualifying time.
However, on Sunday, Davies, who also competed at the 2017 World Championships in London, finished fifth at the Chiasso event in 1:38.06, well outside the required standard, and her PB of 1:31.53.
The Great Britain selectors will sit down on Monday to discuss their choices with the team being announced as soon as possible afterwards.
Welsh distance runner Dewi Griffiths has already been selected after his performance at the London Marathon in April.
Any IAAF invitations will be announced after its September 6 deadline. Any British invitations from the IAAF would have to be accepted by British Athletics.