Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Richard Buck revels in first major international victory
GOLDEN boy Richard Buck is on the hunt for world glory after being part of the Great Britain relay team that took top billing at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Gothenburg.
The 26-year-old scooped his seventh international medal, but his first gold, when storming to victory with Michael Bingham, Nigel Levine and Richard Strachan in three minutes 5.78 seconds in the 4x400 metres final last Sunday.
The win is a huge boost to the City of York Athletic Club athlete, who had been unable to gain an individual berth in the championships after struggling with a sore hamstring, and bodes well for his major target of getting among the medals at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow later this year.
“It’s my first gold medal as a senior and it feels like it has been a long time coming,” said an elated Buck.
“We’ve had the talent for years to go and do it. Last year, at the World Championships, it was very close. We had a very good team again and it was a dominating performance.
“It was absolutely brilliant. It was so good to do it with a team and it was almost a party atmosphere on the top of the podium.
“It was the first time I had been there, to see the flag being raised and hear the national anthem played, and it was really something else.
“It was such a brilliant place for us to start. We are all focusing on Moscow this year and will try to get back up there.”
Great Britain were initially disqualified after Buck was pushed off the track and put a foot in the infield after being nudged by a Polish rival as he got into gear in the second leg. But team officials lodged an immediate appeal and the quartet were quickly reinstated in the gold medal position.
Buck’s performance, where he kept his composure after losing his footing and his stride and drove Great Britain back into contention for a medal, was praised by fellow runner Strachan on social media.
“It was frustrating because once the push is made, and the commitment is there, it is always such a struggle to try and stay in. There was nowhere else to go,” added Buck on what was going through his mind when the infringement occurred.
“With the Polish team being disqualified in the end it was because it was not just a push but gaining an unfair advantage. He came round me.
“It can set you back anything up to half a second upwards. The worst thing, though, wasn’t that it cost me a bit of time but that it cost me position.
“On the back straight, I had to get back onto the stride, the Belgian runner came up on to me and then I was stuck.
“I was in a place where it was stupid to go and try to attack on a corner. I knew there was something in the tank, I knew I had quite a bit in reserve, as the 400 metre pace wasn’t what it could have been.
“It wasn’t the fastest paced race. I made the decision not to wait any longer and, when I hit the straight, I took off. Nigel ran a fantastic leg and it was a brilliant decision to put the team in the order it went in.”
Buck is North Yorkshire’s most decorated international athlete but he said: “I am just trying to be the best I can be and make the most of the time I have got in the sport. It would be great to keep that momentum going. Touch wood, I am going really well.”