The 2010 European 800m silver medallist looks to return stronger next year after going out in the heats in Beijing

Having worked hard to secure his place on the GB team for the IAAF World Championships in Beijing after undergoing surgery last autumn, Michael Rimmer was understandably disappointed to have exited the competition in the first round.

The 2010 European 800m silver medallist was only back running in April after eight months off following surgery required for a stress fracture he sustained in his back in spring 2014. His return this summer included times of 1:45.67 and 1:45.75 in London and Madrid respectively as well as a second place finish to Kyle Langford at the UK trials.

With those times he continued his tradition of having run 1:46.13 or quicker in each of the past 10 seasons, despite struggling with injury throughout his career, but in a slow and tactical World Championships heat on Saturday he finished fourth in 1:48.70, just one place and a tenth of a second off securing an automatic semi-final spot.

“I’m a bit gutted,” said the 29-year-old. “To go out like that is a tough one to take really.

“If you have a good, honest, hard race and you fall short, it’s easier to take than when it’s really cagey, slow and tactical.”

The race was won by Olympic champion and world record-holder David Rudisha in 1:48.31 – the slowest winning time of all the heats.

“I had a sneaky feeling it might be like that even though every single person said it’s going to be quick because (David) Rudisha is there,” said Rimmer. “It was one of those five percent chances that it happens and when you’re in that position, you’ve just got to get in the right place at the right time and hope you’ve got the kick.

“I knew it was going to be tough with 120m to go. I felt very comfortable because of the pace.

“I kicked as hard as I could, but I just haven’t had that training to have that real kick,” added Rimmer, who spent five months training on a Wattbike to regain fitness after his operation.

“But I think that’s why I’m really gutted after what I’ve put in, knowing I’m in really good shape and there’s more there.

“With championship races, you can’t just have one facet to your fitness, you’ve got to have multiple and I just haven’t done all that type of work.”

Looking to the future, he continued: “If I can do that off three months training, that’s what I’ve got to stay positive about.

“If I can do it over 12 months, I can surely be a different athlete.

“Touch wood I have no injuries and I can be stronger next year.”