Loughborough’s Alex Haydock-Wilson has been a breakout star in British athletics this year. Running a personal best of 45.08 seconds at the World Championships, he was one of the favourites for a medal at the European Championships.
Lining up for the final, Haydock-Wilson knew that the gold was likely going to be won by Matt Hudson-Smith. This means that either the silver or bronze were up for grabs.
After his trademark fast start, the Loughborough athlete was perfectly placed to finish at the front of the pack. As expected, Matt Hudson-Smith pulled away from the pack, finishing in a fantastic time of 44.53 seconds.
Behind Hudson-Smith, however, there was a battle on for the other two medal positions. Switzerland’s Ricky Petrucciani just pulled away to take the silver medal – leaving Haydock-Wilson and Liemarvin Bonevacia to duel for the bronze.
Matching each other stride for stride, British fans watched on with awe as it seemed that the two athletes crossed the line at exactly the same time. Their clockings were both 45.17 seconds, and they would have to be separated by photo-finish.
Haydock-Wilson sat on the track, eyes fixed on the large screen that would show him whether his efforts had been enough. Bonevacia was doing the same.
As the results flashed up on the screen, the Brit leaped to his feet as his place on the podium was secured. Even with the photo finish, it was pretty difficult to separate the two athletes.
This caps off what has been a fantastic season for Alex Haydock-Wilson. A medal at his first senior European Championships, while still being a university student, is a fantastic achievement. It is also a testament to what this talented athlete will be able to produce in the future.
Although Matt Hudson-Smith is in somewhat of a league of his own in British 400 metre running at the moment, it is not out of the question that Haydock-Wilson could challenge his supremacy in the very near future.