Lennon-Ford bemoans 'tight' track

Richard Buck was re-instated in the 400 metres

Richard Buck was re-instated in the 400 metres

First published in National Sport © by

Britain's poor start to the European Championships in Helsinki took an unusual turn of events, with a "blatantly tight" track ending the Olympic dreams of Luke Lennon-Ford.

Lennon-Ford and team-mate Richard Buck had seemingly advanced to the semi-finals of the 400 metres after winning their heats, but were then disqualified for running outside of their lanes in the Olympic Stadium.

A total of seven athletes were initially disqualified for lane infringements from the five heats, and although Buck was subsequently reinstated after the British team protested about the "inconclusive" video evidence, Lennon-Ford had no such recourse.

The European Under-23 bronze medallist blamed the renovations to the venue which saw the football pitch in the infield widened to meet international regulations and the track relaid.

"One of the Finnish radio reporters told me they've changed the curve and they have blatantly made it too tight," the 23-year-old said. "I was only going 85% around the top bend and had to cut back to 65% around the next.

"I was in and out of the lane and thought I was going to get DQ'd. I'm gutted. It's really frustrating. I've had the worst four days of my life after getting a virus before the trials and not being able to do anything there.

"Everything happens for a reason I suppose. I hope in some way I can still get selection for the Olympics."

Buck still needs to record two 'A' standards of 45.30 seconds in the semi-final and final to have a realistic chance of being selected for the Olympics, with Nigel Levine in a strong position to claim the final place available alongside Martyn Rooney and Conrad Williams.

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