As the selection process for next year?s Commonwealth Games got under way yesterday Midlands athletes were able to enjoy the reprieve London?s successful Olympic bid had given them.
Prior to last week?s announcement that the 2012 Olympic Games were coming to this country, there had been concerns that funding constraints would mean many regional competitors could miss out on going to Melbourne next March for the Commonwealth showpiece.
But the political spotlight has shifted back on to sport since the International Olympic Committee awarded the Olympics to London, and England can now send a team of more than 100 athletes to Australia instead of being limited to half that figure.
That could have seen Midlands-based super-stars like Mark Lewis-Francis and Marlon Devonish missing out on a major medal purely for financial reasons but thankfully both men, and many others, are likely get the chance to shine at the 2006 Games.
And while the selectors spent yesterday ratifying the places of the winners from last weekend?s AAAs in Manchester, they did so in the knowledge that the process of naming the squad would not simply be decided on the basis of first-past-the-post at the trials.
Dave Lawrence, men?s team coach at Birchfield Harriers, defended the role the Commonwealths played in the sport?s calendar and hailed the Games for the opportunity they give young athletes to attune themselves to the demands of bigger, more illustrious championships.
?The Commonwealth Games can be a stepping stone for someone young, a place to end your career or something an athlete would do as a matter of course but whatever the motivation they are a great games to be involved in,? said Lawrence.
?And with London in mind they can be good preparation for an Olympic Games because it is still a question of getting it right on the day and the more experience you get of going to champion-ships is going to stand us in good stead for 2012.?
Meanwhile, Birchfield sprinter Lewis-Francis is likely to be fit for the Grand Prix in London in 11 days? time after his injury scare.
The Olympic relay champion will have a scan today to determine the exact nature of the ham-string injury he picked up in the 100 metres final in Manchester.