WORLD Championship hopeful Richard Buck is aiming to shave half a second off his 400m personal best to make August’s plane for Berlin.

Buck, 22, is targeting one of the three individual places in the Great Britain team for Germany but must achieve the A-standard qualifying time first.

The City of York star finished fifth in this year’s European Indoor Championships, where he also led off the silver medal-winning relay team.

His chances of making the World Championships, however, rest on his ability to clock 45.55 seconds.

Should he manage that goal before the Birmingham trials during the second weekend in July, he would then be guaranteed an individual place on the plane if he finished in the top two positions.

Buck’s pb is 46.13 but he has already clocked 46.22 this season and remains confident that he can run much quicker although he admits competition in Team GB is strong.

Olympic finalist Martyn Rooney seems certain of a place for Berlin while Conrad Williams, Robert Tobin and Richard Strachan, who all beat a sixth-placed Buck in Geneva at the weekend, will also be strong contenders along with Michael Bingham.

North Yorkshire-raised Buck, therefore, is targeting one of the two automatic World Championship qualifying spots rather than relying on the selectors’ discretionary choice.

“The standard of our 400m runners is getting stronger and stronger as was seen by getting somebody in the Olympic final and finishing fourth in the relay,” Buck said.

“But I will be giving it my best shot possible at qualifying as an individual and, after my indoor form, I feel that’s achievable. My aim is to get the A-standard by the time the domestic trials are run and, if that does not put me in the team, then it means we will have fantastic strength in depth.

“I’ve always been a bit of a racer so, if I’ve already got the time by Birmingham, I can have a good go at getting one of the top two automatic places.”