Aussie Beck qualifies for 400m semis at WC

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A year after a qualifying heartbreaker at the Tokyo Olympics, Australian Alex Beck was smiling fit to burst after edging into the 400m semi-finals at the world championships in Eugene.

In tricky, blustery conditions at Hayward Field on Sunday (Monday AEST), Beck held his form down the home straight to finish fifth in his heat in 45.99 seconds.

It ended up being good enough to secure one of the six non-automatic qualifying berths - by just 0.08 of a second.

If that seems close, it was no more than the 30-year-old deserved after missing out on a spot in last year's Olympic semi-finals by 0.03, despite running a PB.

"It was a huge goal to get through to the semis here, especially as my first individual experience at a major last year was oh so close," Beck told AAP.

"I'm over the moon and I can't wait to come back on Wednesday and mix it up again in the semis.

"Last year was tough, but my coach Mark Ladbrook and I have gone back home and worked our arses off to get here."

It was a different story for 2012 Olympic finalist Steve Solomon, who was last in the first of six heats in 46.87.

But as it stands, it will be Solomon representing Australia in the men's 400m next month at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

The Commonwealth track and field team was capped at 69 able-bodied athletes and it was Solomon who was ranked higher in the 400m when the selectors made the call last month.

"There's disappointment, for sure, not going to the the Commonwealth Games," said Beck.

"It was hard getting that non-selection email.

"I think I'm a good enough athlete to have been in Birmingham but at the end of the day you take this opportunity with both hands.

"This is my race, my one and only chance. I don't get another one."

The only way Beck could be included in the Commonwealth Games team would be as a like-for-like replacement if Solomon withdrew due to injury.

South African superstar Wayde van Niekerk made a confident return to the world championships, easing through to the 400m semis as the second-fastest qualifier in 45.18.

Van Niekerk is a two-time 400m world champion and also won this event at the Rio Olympics.

Three-times Olympic medallist Kirani James, of Grenada, advanced along with Botswana's Bayapo Ndori, who produced the fastest time of the day with 44.87.

Reigning Olympic and world champion Steven Gardiner, from the Bahamas, is injured and didn't make it to Eugene.

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