Reigning 60m champion had missed out on British team selection but European Athletics has handed him a lifeline to attempt a hat-trick of wins
Richard Kilty will race for the host nation at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow after the European Athletics Council extended a special invitation allowing the two-time 60m champion to compete.
Making a comeback after injury, the 29-year-old had not been able to achieve the 6.60 qualifying standard set by British Athletics, but his season’s best of 6.63 is well inside the European Athletics standard of 6.78 and ranks him joint 11th in Europe.
Reece Prescod and Chijindu Ujah were the only British athletes to have run the 6.60 standard but they decided to skip Glasgow to focus on the outdoor season. As a result, Ojie Edoburun was the sole male 60m sprinter named on the GB team thanks to his 10.04 PB from last summer.
But now Edoburun will be joined by 2014 world indoor champion Kilty at the Emirates Arena following what European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen described as a “special case”.
“This situation of a defending champion from the host nation being fit but not making his or her national team is fairly unusual,” said Hansen.
“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.”
Noting that champions at the outdoor European Athletics Championships are automatically qualified for the following edition, Hansen added: “We all know that it adds interest for the public when they see that national stars, especially champions, will be competing.
“I am looking to the future and although there are factors we need to discuss I intend to ask the Council to consider extending the automatic qualification rule to the indoor championships.”
Following news of his invite, Kilty said: “I am really thankful to European Athletics for giving me the opportunity to stand on the start line and realise the dream I set after I had my Achilles surgery.
“The main thing for me has been to get on that start line as a defending champion at a home championships.
“I struggled mentally for a couple of days after the team announcement but now I feel phenomenal and I can put it to the back of my mind and run for my family, my fans and the home crowd – that is all I am thinking about.”
Kilty, who won his two European titles in Prague in 2015 and Belgrade in 2017, added: “I want to please the fans and the home crowd that want to see me run in Glasgow and I want to make my family proud.
“Once again I am so thankful for the opportunity from European Athletics and I can’t wait to stand on the start line and try and win a third title in a row.”