QUALIFYING for the Commonwealth Games with just two hours to spare, decathlon athlete Curtis Mathews is now eager to step into the spotlight at his first major championships.
Barry boy Curtis, 22, has been competing in the decathlon since he was 17-years-old and has qualified as a member of the Welsh squad for the Commonwealth Games in Scotland this August.
The road to Scotland has been a hard one for Curtis, who - having narrowly missed out on reaching the necessary points total during two events in the UK - had to compete in two decathlons in less than a week to get himself into the national squad.
When he fell short of the standard by a tiny margin at the British Championships in May, Curtis and his coaches thought they had reached the end of the line.
Struggling with poor weather conditions Curtis had missed qualification in what he thought was his last chance when he heard about an event in Malaga that would provide him with one last opportunity just six days after the British Championships.
Taking the chance, the former Barry Boys School pupil competed in the event and made qualification with just two hours to spare until the deadline.
"I normally don't do more than one decathlon in a season," he said. "This season I've done three.
"We thought it was over so when we got it, it was an unbelievable feeling. The last event was the 1500m so when I crossed the line and I knew I had got the points I just collapsed on the floor thinking 'yes!'".
Curtis is now concentrating on training full time with coach Mike Guest, cycling to and from the track in preparation for what he hopes will be a successful showing at the games.
"I can't wait," he said. "I love getting the clap going when I'm long jumping so I'm looking forward to getting the crowd involved.
"I hope I can perform well and I'm going to do what I can to thrive in the situation."
Curtis, who wanted to thank his nan Nancy Wilson for supporting and funding his athletic career, said that he is hoping to return back to Wales with a top eight finish.