A TEENAGE athlete’s Olympic dreams are one step closer to reality after he was short-listed to become a torch bearer in the lead up to the 2012 games.
Josh Walker, 17, was nominated for the prestigious role by the Lincolnshire Elite Athletes Programme after impressing them with his abilities in the 110 metre hurdles.
He said: “It was brilliant when I heard I had been short-listed, when I first read the email couldn’t really appreciate it - I thought it might have been spam! My family are also very pleased but I don’t want to get my hopes up too much.”
Josh is ranked second in the UK at the 110 metre hurdles after he took the silver medal at the Loughborough International event in the under 18s category - despite competing with a broken wrist.
The Skegness Grammar School student also won the gold medal competing for Scotland in the Celtic games at Athlone, Ireland, last August but feels he may still be too young to make it to the London Olympic Games next summer.
“At my age the 2012 Olympics would be almost impossible but I definitely have hopes and dreams of competing in 2016 and 2020,” Josh explained.
Despite being unable to actually compete in next summer’s Games, Josh hopes that they will have a positive impact on sporting opportunities for other young athletes in this country.
“I hope the Olympics gets more young people into athletics - it could be a really good thing for grass roots sports,” he said.
In order to get the training Josh requires to compete at international level, he has to travel from his home in Welton le Marsh to Birmingham, which is both costly and time consuming.
Lincolnshire Elite Athletes Programme assist Josh with the costs involved in his training and after completing his A Levels he hopes to train at a high ranking university while studying chemical engineering.
A final decision on torch bearers is expected in December.