Richard Kilty has thanked European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen for inviting him to compete at next month’s European Indoor Championships in Glasgow after the 2014 world 60 metres champion was left off the British team.
The invite, which means he can chase a historic third straight European title over the distance, has helped British Athletics out of another embarrassing selection dispute with the 28-year-old, who was not picked for London 2012 or an individual race at the 2013 World Championships despite meeting the criteria.
The latest row occurred because the national governing body set a much stricter selection requirement for Glasgow than European Athletics: 6.60 seconds or better, as opposed to the event organisers’ 6.78secs.
Having recovered from surgery on an Achilles tendon injury last summer, Kilty ran a best of 6.63s at the British Indoor Championships last weekend and is currently ranked 11th in Europe.
But that was still not quite good enough to meet the British Athletics standard, a time only Reece Prescod and Chijindu Ujah have managed.
Neither of those two, however, has chosen to compete at the Euro Indoors, which run from March 1-3. This meant British Athletics was forced to pick Ojie Edoburun based on his performance over 100 metres last summer, despite him finishing last in Birmingham on Sunday.
Kilty responded to the disappointment of not being selected in two tweets after the British Indoors, saying he was “getting faster and faster after surgery and heading in the right direction to defend my title” and that he was “truly gutted”.
He added that being left out of a home championship as a defending champion was a “dream crusher” and then retweeted 16 different tweets that highlighted his case.
But on Wednesday, the sport’s European governing body stepped in to make sure he can go for his hat-trick.
In a statement, Hansen said: “This situation of a defending champion from the host nation being fit but not making his or her national team is fairly unusual.
“Our invitation is really a special case. It helps the individual athlete, of course, but more importantly it shows that we are ready to react to opportunities that will help our events succeed.”
Hansen added that champions at the outdoor European championships are automatically invited back to defend their titles at the next edition and he said he would ask European Athletics’ council to consider extending the automatic qualification rule to the indoor event.
Kilty’s reaction to the news was typically speedy, with the Teesider tweeting his thanks to Hansen and saying the chance to go to a home championships as a defending champion for the first time “feels amazing”.