Solomon bounces back in 400m in Birmingham

·3-min read

Steve Solomon is well aware of his sporting mortality.

Solomon first announced himself to the greater Australian sports-watching public back at the 2012 London Olympics, when - while still a teenager - he became the first Australian man in 24 years to contest the 400m final.

It seemed like the track and field world was at its feet.

But the intervening decade has often been something of a slog, mostly due to a string of injuries.

The problem this year for Solomon has been a high hamstring tendinopathy injury which was still causing him problems at the recent world championships in Eugene where he was run out in the 400m heats.

Just making it to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games was something of a victory.

Finishing an impressive second in his first-round heat on Wednesday to cruise into Friday's semi-finals was another big step in the right direction for a man who still has big running goals to achieve.

"I am proud of myself for how I have come out these last two weeks because it is not a nice feeling performing as I did in Eugene," Solomon told reporters.

"It is not something I expect of myself, it is not something my team expects, but to bounce back as I did and continue on the rest of the week here is something to be proud of.

"It means an awful lot because I am in the back end of my career.

"I am 29 now; my first Australian team was 11 years ago.

"Eugene was my fifth world championships, so I think one of the things that keeps me going mentally is the occasion, to come out and perform.

"I have still got really big goals in this sport and even if I am coming towards the back end of my career it doesn't mean that I am taking my eye off them."

In addition to those five world championships campaigns, Solomon has also worn the green and gold at three Commonwealth Games and two Olympics.

"One of the things i will always keep in my pocket as a weapon is my experience at these championships - having done it so many times now," he said.

"Even if I haven't had the ideal preparations physically, I know that once I am here I can come in with some confidence because I have done it a lot of times and I am confident about doing it."

The latest hamstring injury was all the more frustrating for Solomon because it came only a few days after he clocked 45.2 at the NSW championships in March - the fastest he had ever run to open an Australian season.

"I thought to myself this is going to be a really special year," he said.

"Then the next training session I felt OK but not great, then I couldn't walk the next day.

"It took me over 20 weeks to get back to jogging. I have never had an injury like this."

The 400m semi-finals on Friday will be cut-throat affairs, with only the top two in each heat guaranteed a berth in Sunday's final.

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