WELSH sprinter Jeremiah Azu is desperate to prove his British title is far from a flash in the pan at the Commonwealth Games.

The 21-year-old hasn’t been seen on the track since becoming the first Welshman in 53 years to win the UK 100m title in June.

Azu, who has also explained his absence from the Great Britain 4x100m relay team that won bronze at last weekend's World Championships, wants to back up his British title performance in Team Wales colours.

“I want to solidify that performance at British Champs,” he said. “It wasn’t a one-off.

“There are probably some people that think (it was a fluke), there will be people on every side of it. In myself, I want to solidify my name and prove to the naysayers I can do it again.”

Azu's British championship was won in a wind assisted time of 9.90 - which meant he couldn't be automatically selected for the British team.

But he is keen to show he belongs on the world stage when the 100m rounds start on Saturday morning.

Though with the championships taking place just a week after the Worlds (delayed from last year due to the pandemic) many big names are likely to be missing. Canada's Olympic 200m champion Andre De Grasse, who anchored their 4x100m team to gold in Oregon, is among the latest stars to have pulled out.

Agonisingly Azu was one place shy of formally qualifying for this month’s World Athletics Championships in Eugene. He was ranked 33rd with the top 32 eligible.

Instead he was named in the 4x100m relay pool and in line for a major championship debut.

But the Cardiff-born star felt hamstring discomfort in preparation camp and flew back home to prepare for Birmingham.

“If it was the individual, maybe I would have stayed and competed but when it comes to relay, it’s about the team,” he said.

“I would have been on the first leg and I wouldn’t want to risk anything for anyone else. It could have ended my season and we wouldn’t have got the baton round.”

In the end Britain won bronze in the relay, with Azu’s contemporary Jona Efoloko on the first leg, the UK's fifth medal of the Championships.

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Azu wants to get his GB relay place back but also pursue higher goals, though he will have to concentrate on the individual event in Birmingham as Wales haven't entered a men's 4x100m team.

He said: “I want to show that I’m not just a relay runner, I’m an individual sprinter.

“I don’t want to end my career with relay medals, I want individual medals. Relay medals are amazing, I want to be part of that team, but there’s a reason why the individual comes first.”

Departing British Athletics head coach Christian Malcolm - who collected his first medal from senior championships with a 200m silver at the 1998 Commonwealth Games - has long been the standard-bearer for Welsh sprinting and has been a key source of wisdom for Azu.

“We’ve got a good relationship," he said. “He gives me a lot of time and a lot of advice because he’s been all over the world and done it all.

“I try to feed off him. A lot of people maybe don’t like to take advice but I’ll be soaking up everything. He’s been there for me since the start.”

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