Joel Fearon living the sub-10 dream before British Team Trials

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GB Bobsledder Joel Fearon runs joint-third fastest 100m by a Briton
World Championship Team Trials
Date: 31 June-1 July Venue: Alexander Stadium, Birmingham
Coverage: Live coverage on BBC Radio 5 live, Red Button and BBC Two. Full details.

For a few days last year, Joel Fearon was an ex-athlete.

Then 27, he was resigned to hanging up his spikes. The injuries were too frequent, the fractions of seconds he sought too elusive. He had had enough of fighting on two fronts.

He decided to concentrate solely on a bobsleigh career in which he had already represented Great Britain at the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014.

Less potential glory perhaps, but more financial security.

"My heart had taken enough beating, enough disappointment," he told BBC Sport.

"I would have left the sport if it wasn't for my beautiful wife and coach. They had more belief in me than I had."

It proved well founded.

Fastest British men of all time
1 Linford Christie - 9.87 seconds
2 James Dasaolu - 9.91
3= CJ Ujah & Joel Fearon - 9.96
5= Dwain Chambers & Adam Gemili - 9.97

Two weeks after they persuaded him to give athletics one last fling, Fearon dropped a performance as jaw-dropping as anything seen a few weeks later at Rio 2016.

With Team GB's Olympians holed up at a training camp in Belo Horizonte, Fearon tore to victory in the 100m in the English Championships, clocking 9.96 seconds.

It was faster than any other Briton ran in 2017, and a time bettered by only Linford Christie and James Dasaolu in the history of British sprinting.

Joel Fearon
Fearon, seen here finishing sixth behind Adam Gemili and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey in a B final at the 2013 Anniversary Games, is coached by Michael Khmel, who also trains Paralympian Jonny Peacock

It may be the shortest distance on the ticket, but Fearon had taken the long route.

In the immediate aftermath of finishing fifth in the four-man bobsleigh at Sochi 2014, Fearon forewent the winter sport funding to pursue his sprinting dreams.

He ended up working as a delivery driver as the lack of pennies pinched on his young family.

"I've always got my jobs as a husband and a father," he added.

"The night before Bedford, I forgot to wash the dishes and my wife woke me up at midnight and told me to go and do the washing-up.

"I felt all right, but sub-10? I didn't think that was possible for a guy like me.

"It was only a couple of days later in church that I broke down and understood what it meant in my life.

"I have always been in the background trying to be acknowledged as a sprinter and in that moment I was.

"It was a real breakthrough. I felt like I was a somebody."

But there was to be no late ticket to Brazil. His time - superior to any run by Britain's 100m representatives CJ Ujah, James Ellington and Dasaolu - fell outside the qualification period.

Bruce Tasker
Fearon (right) with two-man bob team-mate Bruce Tasker

Instead it was back to bobsleigh. While his rivals were laying down early-season markers on the track, Fearon was on the ice.

Racing alongside Bruce Tasker, he finished ninth in the two-man at the World Championships in Germany in February.

Playing catch-up, his best time from four 100m outings this season is a wind-assisted 10.23.

But he still believes he can secure the top-two finish he needs to be on the start line at August's World Championship.

"I am very focused on the Worlds," he said.

"I have had to really believe in myself, push down boundaries and somehow I have ended up here.

"I'm going to relish every opportunity to wear my country's flag."

For Fearon - a man for all seasons - struggle will make success taste all the sweeter.

The 100m preliminary round is at 12:25 BST, the semi-finals are at 15:35 and the final is at 17:20 - all on Saturday.

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