BARNSLEY man Joe Ferguson will represent Great Britain at the World Athletics Championships next month after slicing more than a third of a second off his 200m personal best at the British Championship.
The 22-year-old from Darton, who started running at Barnsley AC nine years ago, took silver in the national championships in Manchester on Sunday, which were also the world trials. His time of 20.23 was a hundredth of a second inside the qualifying time for the World Championships in Eugene, USA which start on July 15.
Ferguson told the Chronicle: “It’s a dream come true. It was the last day to qualify and the only way to get automatically selected was to finish in the top two and run the qualifying time.
“I smashed my PB in the heat with 20.18 but the wind level was too high for it to count as an official time. It was confirmation that I am as good as I thought. It gave me some confidence but I didn’t react much because it wasn’t the final.
“When I crossed the line in the final, I thought the wind would be over the allowed limit again but someone from the stands shouted down that it was legal and it was a great feeling. Everything fell perfectly into place at the right time.”
Ferguson will fly out on Wednesday of next week ahead of a ten-day camp in Portland, Oregon before heading across the state to Eugene. As well as the 200m individual race, he is likely to be in the squad for the 100m relay.
“It’s my first senior GB call-up so for it to be the World Championships is amazing. Hopefully I will go to the European Championships later in the year as well.
“In 2019, off the back of my junior season, I was targeting this. But I have had injury setbacks then got back on track just in time.”
Joe’s personal best going into this year was 20.76 from 2019, after which he had two years of injuries.
He has taken more than half a second off that time during a remarkable 2022.
“It’s just down to hard work and consistency over the last few years.
“I didn’t race last year due to injury but I have been working really hard. It’s been in my legs, I just needed a few races to get up to my PB shape. Now I am there, the times are coming.”