Workington athlete is English champion and set to represent his country
Workington athlete Oliver Dustin is preparing to represent his country for the first time - after becoming the English Schools 800m champion.
The Keswick School pupil was competing in the English Schools Athletics national championships last weekend, held at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium.
He won his 800m U17 heat in a time of 1:55.99 to qualify for the final, where he upped another gear.
He clinched the win and the national title in a time of 1:51.07 and this was enough to secure a place in the Schools International Athletics Board home international event in Dublin tomorrow.
His proud coach, Graeme Mason, said: "The race was just unbelievable to watch.
"He was up against a young lad from Yorkshire, Max Bergin, who broke the world age group best just three weeks ago.
"Obviously that made him the overwhelming favourite to win the event, as world record holder and he is a strong lad.
"But Oliver looked fantastic in his heat and then he stayed with Max in the final.
"He worked really hard going into the second lap when the two of them went clear. Then, with about 120 metres to go, Oliver kicked past him.
"I have never seen a Cumbrian team go as crazy as they did at that point. It was such an achievement, especially because of who he beat."
Mason admitted that Oliver was improving all the time and he has high hopes for the 16-year-old.
He added: "It is tough competition for the boys at that age. Oliver has always been talented but maybe not as big or strong as some of them.
"But when I watched that race last Saturday I was so proud as it is all credit to him, his talent and his work ethic.
"I first met him about five years ago and he was a talented youngster and to watch him develop over the years into the athlete I saw on Saturday is superb.
"To put his achievement into perspective, if he had run five seconds faster, he would have been gong to the Olympics.
"He was the talk of the track on Saturday, this is a huge step up in his career and I think he is just going to get faster and faster."