YATE & District AC’s Owen Merrett will arrive in South America today – for the World Under 20 Track and Field Championships in Colombia.
The 18-year-old, who is coached by Matt Spicer, has been selected for the 43-strong Great Britain squad to compete in the hammer competition.
“This event was definitely a big goal for me this season but when I won the trials I was seven centimetres short of the qualifying standard (Owen threw 69.93m and needed 70 metres),” said Merrett.
“Okay it was close but it wasn’t the standard but fortunately they decided to selected me anyway.
“I’m delighted and it is definitely the best achievement of my career so far.”
Selection for his first global event crowns a magnificent summer for Merrett. He won the English Schools’ senior boys’ title on his final appearance in the event and then followed that up with gold in the England Athletics Under 20 Championships.
His PB in the latter confirmed his position as the UK No 1 in the junior hammer and was enough to persuade the selectors to find room for Merrett in the team for Cali, where the championships are being staged.
“I first started throwing the hammer in 2015 so it has taken quite a long time to get to this point,” added Merrett.
“I’m doing 13 hours of training a week in the winter going to the gym five or six times a week and in the summer I’m doing at least four hours of throwing a week with my coach (Spicer).”
Merrett’s best puts him 27th in the World Rankings and while not all of those above him will be competing he knows he faces a mighty challenge when he lines up for the qualifying competition on Tuesday (August 2nd).
“I think the automatic qualification for the final will be 72 metres which is out of my range at the moment but they will take the top 12 throwers forward so that has to be my goal,” explained Merrett.
“I’ll probably need to throw another personal best to do that and if I manage that then I can do no better.
“It will all be about getting it right on the day. I’ll give to my best shot.”