Athletics World Champs: Youngster Clarke desperate for GB relay spot

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CHRIS Clarke will see new faces replace old at the World Championships – but he insists he won’t have changed a bit if he forms part of the 4x400m relay team in Daegu next week.

The 21-year-old is one of eight sprinters selected as part of the British 4x400m relay squad but one of only two to keep his place from last year’s European Championships in Barcelona.

Out are all of the four that claimed silver in Spain last year with Martyn Rooney selected only for the individual 400m and Conrad Williams, Michael Bingham and Robert Tobin overlooked.

That same quartet also claimed silver at the last World Championships in Berlin two years ago with Clarke, despite being chosen as part of the squad, not being called upon to run at all in Germany.

However, it could be a case of third time lucky for Clarke with Nigel Levine and Richard Buck the only other two on the current team to have been selected for either the previous Europeans or worlds.

To aid Clarke’s cause, he also finished second behind Rooney at last month’s Aviva UK Trials & Championships – and he is relishing the chance of a potential run in South Korea. It would be the biggest outfit of his career to date.

“It’s exciting for me because the team is a little bit different to what it normally is with Rob Tobin, Michael Bingham and Conrad Williams not making it,” said the Marshall Milton Keynes AC man.

“It’s a chance for the younger ones like myself, Nigel Levine and Richard Strachan to put our foot in the door – hopefully we can and hopefully we can do well.

“I know that I’m going to have to put all my efforts into running a good leg in the 4x400m relay and I’m excited to be in there and potentially getting a chance to run.

“The 4x400m relay is always a medal prospect for Britain so I’m hoping to run a good leg and I think the team is strong enough to do well in the final.”

If selected to race in Daegu, Clarke will take to the track for the 4x400m heats in the early hours of Thursday morning GB time (September 1) with the final set for mid-afternoon on Friday.

>> Clarke has been selected for the Aviva GB&NI Team and is at an Aviva funded preparation camp in Ulsan, Korea. Aviva’s support, both at home and abroad, is helping the team prepare to compete at their best. To find out more, go to aviva.co.uk/athletics