TASMANIAN athlete Tristan Thomas sent a clear message to the national selectors who overlooked him at the London Olympics with a brilliant anchor leg to secure his country's position in the 4x400-metre relay world championship final.
The 27-year-old produced one of Australia's best performances of the championships in Moscow by overtaking three rivals in the final 150metres before celebrating with his teammates, Olympic finalist Steven Solomon and world champ debutants Craig Burns and Alex Beck, and producing another vintage display in the post-race interviews.
"I got myself into a nice rhythm and after 250 metres I thought `bugger it, give it a go and see if you can hold on'," said the 400m hurdles semi-finalist.
"I came into the straight and you look down at your legs and say `how are you feeling boys?'
"Lucky for me they felt all right. Having run a few relays before I was really calm."
The performance was particularly satisfying for the Sandy Bay Harrier who helped Australia secure a bronze medal in the event at the 2009 world champs in Berlin but was frozen out at his debut Olympics.
Thomas was initially named in the relay team for London last year, but was then omitted as Australia failed to qualify for the final.
In Moscow, he showed selectors what they missed.
Australia dropped to as low as seventh place before Thomas took the baton in fifth.
With only the top two certain to qualify and the heat significantly slower than the other two, not even third would have been enough to reach today's final.
Thomas progressed to fourth place on the last bend before claiming two more victims on the finishing straight, including Ojay Ferguson of the Bahamas to eliminate the 2012 Olympic champions.
Australia clocked a season's best 3:02.48 to finish second behind Russia.
"I was probably the last athlete that wanted to run the final leg, but having run so many relays in the past I knew that it was my responsibility and I was so happy to run like I did," Thomas said.
"All the boys finished really hard, and even though I was fifth coming into my leg, the distances weren't impossible and it actually played out like how you would write a fairytale.
"The biggest thing I was told before the race was not to run like an idiot. Remain composed, get into a nice rhythm and then with 250 metres to go I had a crack."
Australia has a proud history in the event, having won silver at the Athens Olympics, bronze at the 2009 world championships and gold at the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games.
The Aussies will line up in lane8 of the final, due at 3.30am Tastime, in which fastest qualifier the US is the clear favourite.