n 400m hope Steven Solomon has demanded back-door selection for the Commonwealth GamesAmerica-based Steve Solomon has been marked fragile cargo for a journey to the Gold Coast the ensure his temperamental body doesn’t jeopardise a tilt for Commonwealth Games gold.
The 24-year-old will join the n athletics squad on Monday having missed the selection trials and squad training camp in the lead-up to the April 4-15 showpiece event.
Instead Solomon remained in the United States and demanded selection with times that has him in the frame for a medal among a hot field at Carrara Stadium.
Running for Duke University, Solomon smashed the n indoor 400m record of 45.93 seconds in February, clocking 45.44 to prove his discretionary addition to the squad was deserved.
His time is the seventh fastest in the world this year, leading n head coach Craig Hilliard to carefully rate Solomon a genuine chance.
Much depends on what shape he arrives in though.
“His back just gives him grief frequently,” Hilliard told AAP.
“You hope the flight works out well and he knows what to do to get to get to the other end.
“He’s learnt a lot over the years but certainly coming back and forth (for the trials) was not conducive.”
Solomon was a wide-eyed 19-year-old when he qualified for the 400m final at the 2012 London Olympics, something no n man had done in 24 years.
But a serious hamstring injury at Glasgow’s 2014 Games stalled his progress.
“He tore it off the bone; he’s gone through a lot of hard hits and it’s taken time but he’s getting back to where he was,” Hilliard said.
Even with South African superstar Wayne van Niekerk absent through injury and 2014 Commonwealth Games champ Kirani James a non-starter, the men’s 400m on the Gold Coast will be loaded.
Five of the six fastest 400m runners on last year’s world rankings came from Commonwealth nations.
Another – Bralon Taplin from Grenada – heads the global indoor list in 2018, but Hilliard says Solomon deserves to be listed among the medal contenders.
“It’s a big call, but he’s talented enough to do that if he can string together races like he did at indoors, he’s got to be in the mix,” he said.