DAVID GILLICK is a firm favourite to win a medal at the World Championships in Doha next month after running the second fastest 400m time in the world this year.
Only American Torrin Lawrence (45.03) has run faster than Gillick's barnstorming 45:52 victory at the Birmingham Grand Prix on Saturday, which equalled his Irish Indoor record.
Saturday's impressive victory was only Gillick's first run of the season but the Loughborough-based DSD star, who was sixth in the World Championships last summer, confirmed yesterday that he will not race again before travelling to Qatar and clearly feels he has timed his form perfectly.
"That was only the second time I was out of the blocks since last summer, I had my first block session last Thursday so I was kind of surprised," said Ireland's two-time European Indoor champion of the blistering form which saw him second behind Jamaica's Ricardo Chambers at the bell but then accelerate impressively to win by almost three quarters of a second from Sudan's Yousif Rabah (46.24), with Britain's Michael Buck third (46.52).
"I was just thinking about this race and was delighted with the way things went but now it's like, let's go on to Doha and see what I can do,"he continued.
Gillick's only disappointment was not realising how close he was to his Irish record as he eased up considerably over the last two strides.
"To be honest I didn't think I was going to run that fast," he admitted. "When I looked at the clock I didn't expect that and if I'd dipped, I'd have had a national record!"
Minor illness forced former World Indoor champion Derval O'Rourke to pull out of Birmingham, where American Danielle Carruthers won the 60m hurdles in 7.95 while another of Ireland's Doha-bound athletes, Ferrybank's Kelly Proper, finished fifth in the long jump in 6.33m.