CITY of York Athletic Club ace Richard Buck is in “good shape” for this weekend’s UK Indoor Championships in Sheffield – with the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro a distant target.

The 400 metres specialist goes into the event, which doubles as a trial for the European Indoor Championship in Gothenburg, fresh from an impressive year which resulted in him reclaiming his World Class Performance Programme funding.

Buck said: “I’m in pretty good shape at the moment.

“I’ve just got back from a three-week training camp in South Africa, which was brilliant.

“This weekend is obviously really important for me. It’ll be difficult because indoors others tend to dictate the race pace, but I’m really looking forward to it.”

The 400m heats start at 2.10pm tomorrow, with the semi-finals at 6.40pm, and the final the last event on the track at 4.15pm on Sunday.

Just over two years ago, Buck lost his funding from UK Athletics which resulted in him getting a job stacking shelves for Tesco in Loughborough, where he trains.

Since winning back his funding Buck has quit his Tesco job but, reflecting on the cut, he said: “It made me regain my love for the sport.

“I was convinced I had more to give and the thought of a home Olympics drove me forward.”Last summer Buck was selected in the Great Britain 4x400m relay squad for the London Olympics, but missed out on final selection.

The one-lap ace had also been denied a run four years earlier in Beijing after illness and injury disrupted his training leading into the Games.

Buck said: “I was very disappointed not to be selected for London.

“I aim to keep going for Rio though as running is an absolute privilege.”

Despite his Olympics woes, the 26-year-old runner has had a successful career to date with two World Indoor Championship medals (silver and bronze), three European indoor medals (two silvers, one bronze) and one European outdoor medal (silver).

Buck said: “You don’t imagine winning medals growing up.

“If I could’ve got a medal from anything I would have been happy.

“I’ve had so many great moments so far which makes it hard to pick the best one.

“If I was to choose I would have to say either my relay gold at the 2005 European Junior Games or my bronze at the 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games.”

The 400m runner is hoping to build on last year, when he recorded personal bests with an outdoor 45.61 seconds and an indoor 45.88 seconds at last year’s UK Championships in Birmingham.

Buck, pictured far left, said: “I hope to improve as much as I did last year.

“The World Championships in Moscow is my main focus.

“Hopefully it’ll go well and the funding will make all the difference.

“I know it will be a good year as I am blessed to do what I love.”