Plymouth cross-country runner Victoria Weir was all smiles on Saturday after making third to qualify for the Kampala World Cross Country Championships due 26 March in Uganda.
Weir succeeded at the expense of her close friend and former Great Britain team-mate Amelia Quirk – who was disqualified for taking the wrong route at the Inter Counties Championships in Prestwold Hall, Loughborough.
Quirk had built a commanding lead in the race only to be shown the wrong route by race marshals before the finish.
“I felt really bad for her, but I was focusing on myself. I was really happy to come third, but I did feel bad for Amelia,” Weir told Herald Sport.
“I should have been fourth and she was really upset at the finish, but she gave me a hug. I didn’t know what to say to her.”
“It’s hard to criticise them (marshals) because they are volunteers, but of all the other Inter Counties I have done, there has never been any chance of going off the right route.
The 18-year-old however could not hide her excitement of a trip to Kampala to feature at the event less than a fortnight away.
“It’s exciting, but it’s more of a sense of relief because I know now I’m at the standard to compete with these girls, but there was certainly more pressure because I knew I wanted to go and I knew I needed to be in the top six,” she said.
“It’s definitely a relief. The excitement will come over the next few days.”
She added: “To go to the Europeans and the Worlds in the same season, I would never have believed that could happen after I started at Birmingham (last September).
Kampala will be the fourth African city in the history of the IAAF World Cross Championships to host the tournament after Guiyang of China passed the baton in 2015.