European Championships: Richard Kilty keen to be Britain's best in quest to prove false start was a false alarm

Middlesbrough sprinter Richard Kilty is hoping to put a stop-start season firmly behind him by repaying the faith of the British selectors at the European Indoor Championships this weekend.

Belgrade mission: European Indoor champion Richard Kilty will defend his 60m title in Serbia this weekend. (Picture: PA)

Kilty leads British 60m hopes in Belgrade this weekend where he will attempt to join Linford Christie and Jason Gardener as a multiple winners of the sprint event.

The 27-year-old defends the title he won in Prague two years ago and is the fastest man in the field over the distance this year.

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But his place in the British squad had been in jeopardy after false starting at the national trials in Sheffield last month, where he had reached the final as the fastest qualifier in two rounds.

The trials disaster meant selection came down to a winner-takes-all meeting with British rivals James Dasaolu and CJ Ujah at last month’s Birmingham Grand Prix, where Kilty’s third-place finish sealed his place on the team.

“It was a bit of a messy race but I managed to pull something out and I have to do much better this weekend,” said Kilty, reflecting on the shoot-out at the National Indoor Arena. “The last thing I wanted to do was take a defeat by a British person and then go out and do well at the Europeans.

“I wanted to make sure I defeated every European and British athlete so I could put my stamp down and no one could have any doubt and say: ‘Yeah, he won the Europeans but this person (someone else) should have been there’.

“I feel more relaxed. I’ve spent the last couple of days at home by myself and you think about it.

“The season started so well; I started with 6.57seconds in my first race on a track which was built in a shopping mall. I was thinking I was going to run a big personal best this year.

“Then I had a few ups and downs, slipping out of the blocks in France, the disqualification and then I couldn’t get out of bed on the Monday and Tuesday before Birmingham.”

With Ujah, Europe’s fastest over the 60m distance this year, not selected and four-time European outdoor champion Christophe Lemaitre opting against competing, Kilty heads to Belgrade as favourite for gold.

The biggest challenge will come from national champion Andrew Robertson, while young prospect Theo Etienne gives Britain a firm possibility of sweeping up a one-two-three in the showpiece event.

Britain could take a clean sweep of medals in the men’s sprint races with Andy Pozzi favourite to take glory over the sprint hurdles.

The 24-year-old has been in excellent form this season as he bids for a first major title but he is up against the strongest line-up of any men’s track event.

Asha Phillip will be Britain’s only sprinter in the women’s 60m after European No 1 Dina Asher-Smith’s indoor season ended due to a broken foot.

Olympic heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson has also pulled out of the squad in Serbia as she continues to recover from a minor hamstring strain.

Johnson-Thompson was due to compete in the long-jump alongside fellow British medal hopefuls Lorraine Ugen and Jazmin Sawyers.

Sheffield’s Lee Emanuel is bidding to upgrade his 3,000m silver from Prague two years ago and heads to Serbia after winning the national title on his home track last month.

The 32-year-old is ranked sixth in Europe over the distance this year but fellow Brits Andrew Butchard (first) and Northallerton’s Marc Scott (third) have skipped the championships.