Sprinter Joe Ferguson is moving closer to qualification for the England team for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham after setting personal bests in both the 100m and 200m this week.
The Darton man, who turned 22 earlier this month, smashed his 100m best by almost a third of a second with 10.25 seconds at the Loughborough International meeting last weekend.
Ferguson also broke his 200m personal best with 20.63 which puts him fourth by a UK runner this year over that distance, while his times in both events are the fastest by an English athlete in England this year.
He won both races running as a guest as he was not selected for the England team.
It was his second outdoor event since 2020 – due to injuries last year – after he also won both sprints at the Yorkshire Championships in Cudworth the previous week.
“It was a really good weekend for me,” said Ferguson, who won a British Indoor Championship bronze earlier in the season.
“The times have definitely grabbed people’s attention which is what I wanted after basically disappearing for two years.
“I wanted to let people know I was still serious.
“A lot of fast juniors don’t make it into the seniors and do fast times at that level so it is nice to beat the odds on that one.
“This is about where I wanted to be in 2020 but, with Covid-19 then injuries, it has all been pushed back.
“But I am really happy with the way everything is shaping up for me.”
The Commonwealth Games take place in July and August. Ferguson is now 0.07 seconds off the 100m qualifying time and 0.13 off in the 200m.
There are also a World Championships and European Championships this summer.
He said: “It’s more than possible to get to the Commonwealths. I can’t get complacent now, I just have to push on and get my times down.
“The deadline is June 12 so I will probably race three more times before then and hopefully get the qualifying times, then it just depends who else gets those times and what the selectors decide.
“A lot of the Team GB regulars, who have done more races than me this season, are finding it difficult to run that standard this early in the season.
“We’re hoping that, if I get it, then I should be able to get to the Europeans as well later in the summer.”
Ferguson reduced his 100m time from 10.56 to 10.25, which was the joint fastest time by an English athlete on home soil in 2022, and the seventh fastest in total with most clocked in the USA.
“The 100 time was a massive PB. Once you get to this level, running mid-10s, it is difficult to improve.
“We wanted a time like that this year, but we didn’t think it would be this soon. It was a bit of a surprise but a great one.
“Hopefully it makes me more attractive to the selectors that I can run fast in both.
“We weren’t considering the 100 qualifying times but suddenly I am just as close to that as the 200.
“There is definitely more to come in the 200 but I was very happy to beat my PB from 2019.
“It had been tormenting me.
“That was the kind of time I was hoping to run.
“It’s very early in the season so it’s promising to be getting those times.”