Andy Vernon hopes for a big home run in Birmingham Diamond League

Andy Vernon

Andy Vernon

Lachlan Wellington. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Opening night for the Lakeside 5k Series

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Andy Vernon is hoping to boost his claims for the World Championships with a strong performance in Birmingham tomorrow.

The athlete, from Fareham, has already run the qualifying time for the 10,000m this summer but is still not assured of a ticket on the plane to China to represent Great Britain.

Even with the A standard I am not guaranteed to go

Andy Vernon

The selectors do not guarantee a place in the Beijing 2015 10,000m for anyone who achieves the time.

They are looking for a developing athlete, or someone they believe has a realistic chance of making their mark at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

It means Vernon, who will line-up in a star-studded Diamond League 5,000m tomorrow, in Birmingham, still has work to do to impress.

Vernon said: ‘I’m in a situation where the 10k time doesn’t automatically get you a place in the World Championships.

‘The criteria says you have to have the A standard to be considered and I have got that.

‘Then they will select you if you are considered a developing athlete – which I think my age rules me out of – or a realistic top-eight finish for next year in the Olympics. I have to hope they consider me for that.

‘Sometimes you have to jump through hoops.

‘Even with the A standard I am not guaranteed to go.’

Vernon’s superb performances in the European Championships last summer, when he won two medals on the track, should hopefully ensure the GB selectors don’t overlook him.

He also made a strong statement with victory in the Bupa London 10,000 and his win in the Payton Jordan Invitational on the track, when the former Stubbington Green Runners ace set a new personal best of 27min 42sec to get the qualifying time.

Now he will be looking to secure a place in the 5,000m where he can achieve automatic selection if he finishes in the top two in the trials next month and gets the qualifying time.

Expect a fast race tomorrow with two of the world’s top-three ranked athletes for 5,000m in the line-up.

Kenya’s Thomas Longosiwa and Edwin Soi are both down to run, along with Ethiopia star Hagos Gebrhiwet and 2012 Great South Run winner Stephen Mokoka.

It could well give Vernon an opportunity to crack the time he needs and he knows he will have great support to roar him on.

‘With the 5k it is the usual qualification criteria for that,’ said Vernon.

‘You have to get the standard twice for the 5k but it is 13.23. It’s a little bit easier. But you also have to finish in the top two in the trials as well to be guaranteed.

‘It will be good to get a good performance in front of a home crowd.

‘The field will be strong and the time they are intending to run will be somewhere around my personal best.’

One big plus for Vernon is that his 10,000m time set in winning the Payton Jordan Invitational, in the USA, also counts as the A standard for next year’s Olympics.

That means he doesn’t have to run the time again in 12 months to ensure he is in the race for selection for Rio 2016.

Vernon added: ‘It takes the pressure off a little bit for next year knowing I have that Olympic time.

‘I have to stay healthy and make sure I am injury free.’

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