Seamus Derbyshire hopes resilience will bring European glory

·2-min read
Derbyshire, 22, finished just 0.01s ahead of Czech Martin Tucek and will now race again for a place in the final on Thursday. (Daniel Kopatsch / Munich2022)

By Will Jennings in Munich

Seamus Derbyshire reckons his trademark never-say-die attitude can fire him towards a European medal in Munich.

The Stoke athletics star scraped through his 400m hurdles heat on Wednesday as a time of 50.08s hauled him into the final automatic qualifying spot.

Derbyshire, 22, finished just 0.01s ahead of Czech Martin Tucek and will now race again for a place in the final on Thursday.

The Staffordshire runner started sluggishly at the Olympic Stadium and hopes an ability to dig deep when it matters can help him spring a shock.

“That feels really good,” he said.

“I made some mistakes early on in my race, but one of the things I and my coach have been talking about is like, to keep fighting until the end.

“I'm a strong finisher, so there's no reason why I can't pull myself out of a situation that's uncomfortable, especially because I'm a good hurdler.

“So I just fought to the end, the very end, and dived for the line.

“And I was just waiting for that and thinking ‘please be enough’.

“I'm really happy to get the job done and move on to tomorrow.

“I was mainly focusing on myself for the entire race, but I also use the people around me, that energy, the energy from the crowd and really push it.

“I didn’t want to walk away with any regrets, and that’s what I did.

“I’ll always give it my all whatever the result is – thankfully it's a good one and I’ve got my head held high.”

Derbyshire finished seventh in the 400m hurdles final at this year’s British Championships and is still waiting for his breakthrough on the big international stage.

He showed considerable maturity in Munich on Wednesday by chasing home Constantin Preis and Nick Smidt to clock a time 0.64s shy of his personal best and advance into Thursday’s semi-final.

But he knows he will need to give more to grab a surprise medal, with German ace Preis running a season’s best time of 49.63s in the opening heat.

Derbyshire backs his ability and insists the sky is the limit as the athletics programme reaches its climax towards the weekend.

“I think it's going to be really tough and it’s going to be a competitive race to make the finals,” he added.

“But I believe in my talent and I think like I've only just started to tap into my potential.

“So there's no limits on what I believe I can do at the moment.”

The multi-sport European Championships Munich 2022, featuring Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Rowing, Sport Climbing, takes place 11th-21st August on the 50th anniversary of the Olympics Games in the German city. Watch daily live coverage across BBC One, Two, Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website