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Solomon, Pearson named for Moscow World Champs

23 November 2012

There will be no repeat of the London Olympics selection controversy next year for boom 400m runner Steve Solomon.

The teenager is one of nine Australians to have been pre-selected for next year's world athletics championships in Moscow.

Solomon, reigning world and Olympic 100m hurdles champion Sally Pearson and fellow London Games medallists Mitchell Watt (silver in the long jump) and Jared Tallent (silver in the 50km walk) all got the nod as reward for their top-eight Olympic finishes.

Marathon runners Lisa Weightman and Michael Shelley were also rewarded for top-20 finishes in London with automatic inclusion in the team for next year's world titles in Russia.

Solomon and John Steffensen were the central figures in a messy pre-London drama.

Athletics Australia (AA) could only pick one of them to contest the individual one-lap race.

They went with the much younger Solomon, who rewarded their faith by clocking the fastest three times of his career and becoming the first Australian man in 24 years to contest an Olympic 400m final.

Steffensen felt that neither of them should have been picked to run the individual race in London as they had failed to better the A qualifying mark of 45.30 - a standard Solomon went on to smash three times at the Games.

Solomon has since taken up a scholarship at Stanford University in California.

"London was a very special experience that has certainly increased my appetite for success," he said on Thursday.

"Having now proven to myself that I can match it with the best in the world, I am greatly looking forward to another successful campaign in 2013.

"I am lucky to have been a part of the Flame team when it is at its best.

"The quality of athletes and support staff around me has nurtured my development as an athlete, and crafted how I approach major championships.

"I feel that each championship is adding something new to my running, and I can't wait to see how Moscow plays out."

The men's 400m shapes as one of the most exciting events on the world stage in coming years with London gold and silver medallists, Kirani James from Grenada and Luguelin Santos from the Dominican Republic, both even younger than the 19-year-old Solomon.

The AA selection panel also confirmed on Thursday that marathon runners Scott Westcott, Lauren Shelley and Jane Fardell had guaranteed their spots on the 2013 world championships team by virtue of their efforts at last month's selection trial in Melbourne.

John Salvado

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