Martyn Rooney has revealed one of the reasons behind his selection for Team GB at next month’s Rio Olympics – his wife.

The Croydon Harrier’s place in the squad was confirmed last week after he defended his 400m European Championship crown the weekend before.

It had been touch and go whether Rooney, who will also run in the 4x400m relay, would even get the chance to defend his Euro title after only finishing third in last month’s British Championship.

However, to prevent him feeling sorry for himself at the time he needed a kick from behind, and his wife and fellow Olympian Kate Dennison, who competed at Beijing and London in the pole vault, was happy to oblige.

Rooney said: “After certain races when things do not go right, I regularly need that kick up the backside.

“But then at the same time she can bring me back down to earth when things have gone right.”

He added: “She just makes sure I don’t feel sorry for myself and now she’s retired she sees the other side of the fence.

“She tells me that I am one of the most privileged people in the world to do something I love, so if I start feeling sorry for myself then I am wasting everyone’s time.

“I’m very lucky, she’s a very strong woman and she keeps me in check.”

Croydon Guardian:

Driving force: Kate Dennison

The 29-year-old clocked 45.29 seconds in Amsterdam – just outside his season’s best (45.04secs) and his life-time best (44.45secs).

However, Rooney, who will competing in his third Olympics, believes he is fast-approaching his best form ahead of the Rio Games.

“The 400m is like a golf swing, people need to find their rhythm,” said the double world relay medallist.

“Once I’ve found my rhythm then I can run 45.00secs every day of the week. I just needed to keep running and eventually it would click.

“Three-time Olympian sounds pretty cool, I always dreamed about going to one, so to go to my third one, I am very proud and excited to represent my country on the biggest stage.

“It’s always rocky with me. I’ve always said athletics is 99 per cent failure and one per cent success - this is the one per cent.”

Rooney is a graduate of Loughborough University and says his experiences in what were the BUSA Championships in his day helped guide him to three Olympic Games.

More than 60 per cent of British gold medallists since 1992 have participated in British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), with 56 members of Team GB at London 2012 competing for Great Britain at the World University Games.

Rooney will be hoping to add to that percentage when he competes in Rio, and hopes the Team GB atmosphere will be reminiscent of his time competing at BUSA.

“One of my mates was in the crowd and shouted, Rooney, Rooney, Rooney, Rooney, to the tune of Kaiser Chiefs’ ‘Ruby’ - then the whole of the Loughborough team followed it with ‘ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhhhh,” he said.

“It was cool, I loved that whole atmosphere. Loughborough is a hotbed of talent, I was surrounded by fantastic athletes and people aiming for the top - I was very lucky to be a part of that.”

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, representing more than 150 institutions. Covering 52 sports, BUCS aids grass roots participation through to supporting aspiring elite athletes en route to Commonwealth or Olympic Games bucs.org.uk