This summer could see Kyle Powell finally make his bow at a major championships and the St Albans disability sprinter believes a relaxed approach will see him spring a few surprises on his rivals.
The 18-year-old has been making a name for himself in Britain for several seasons, including at last summer’s Anniversary Games where he set a 100m personal best of 11.53 in front of a packed Olympic Stadium.
Powell, who attends Oaklands College, is yet to compete at a major international event though. However the IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea this August are the perfect opportunity.
First up is ensuring selection for the British team – an opening 100m effort of 11.82 showing he’s on track – and while relatively inexperienced on the big stage Powell is determined to time his run to perfection.
“I’ve never been to a major championships before so this would be my first and that’s what I’m aiming for this summer,” said Powell. “It will be my first senior championships and I’ve never been to a junior one before either so it’s all new.
“Last year in the Olympic stadium was brilliant, it’s hard to imagine 80,000 people watching your race. It was good not being one of the favourites to win; going in there with no pressure you can enjoy it and be a learning experience.
“I probably won’t get the chance to race in front of a home crowd of that many people but it will still be good to compete in Swansea. I used to prefer the 200m as my start is not the strongest and my better part is the latter half and catching up on others.
“I thrive off being just behind and coming back in time for the line and surprising people. But I don’t really have a preference now, I’m enjoying both.”
If Powell needs any advice for dealing with the pressure of earning selection for Britain for the Europeans, he need look no further than schoolmate Olivia Breen – both now studying at Oaklands College.
Breen won 4x100m relay bronze for Britain at the London 2012 Paralympics and the same colour in the 100m and 200m at the Europeans Championships earlier that year – and Powell admits she’s already been a great help.
“I go to the same college as Olivia – she won a medal at the Paralympics and we’re always having a gossip and talking to each other about things,” he added.
“It will be good to get her advice and just see how I can go. I’m friends with a lot of the Welsh guys from the Paralympic team too and they are all excited about the Championships in Swansea.”
The Lloyds Bank Local Heroes programme, in partnership with SportsAid, continues to provide support and funding to emerging British athletes.
More than 1,200 Local Heroes have benefited from the programme since 2008.
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