A Workington athlete who announced his arrival in European competitions by scooping gold in the 800-metres hopes the triumph can be a stepping stone to help him race at the Olympics one day.

Oliver Dustin, 18, of Milton Drive, earned his first call-up to the Great Britain squad for the European U20 Championships in Borås, Sweden – and he had no doubt about where he wanted to finish.

And he achieved his first-place goal, with Britain actually taking the top three places in the 800m final as the Border Harriers runner took gold.

Dustin, who has previously represented England, overcame his nerves to win his qualifier in a time of 1:51.85.

He said: “Before the heat on Friday morning I was quite nervous running, because when you run the heats you’re not sure what’s going to happen, what sort of shape you’re in.

“I worked my way through the field and I ended up winning the heat quite comfortably so I knew I was going to be in a very good position for the final, and that gave me confidence.”

The racer then upped his game further in the final to win in 1:50.56, just holding off team-mates Ben Pattison and Finley McLear.

“The final was quite cloudy, windy and rainy so it was like Cumbrian weather which I quite enjoyed,” he said.

“Again it was a slow first lap which played into my hands because I’m the fastest finisher out of the GB boys.

“I just tracked the leaders down the back straight and when I came off the final bend I gave it everything.

“I dug deeper than I ever have and over the final 10 metres I got there.

“It was an amazing feeling.

“Because it was the last night of the event, the whole team were down at the track and screaming at the side.

“The noise over the last 50 metres was unbelievable.”

Dustin hopes the impressive victory will open the door for more GB call-ups, European races and eventually a chance to fulfil his dream of competing at the top level of the sport with the chance to compete for Olympic medals.

“I’ve got a taste of what it’s like now at national competitions and I just want do it again and again,” he said.

“The season is coming to an end now so it will be next year that I can aim for that.

“I’m moving up an age group into the under-23s, which will be a tough step up but I’m looking forward to it.

“It was really good experience, especially going forward, and to come away with a gold medal was special.”

The ascent to European competition in a Great Britain kit has not happened overnight for the former Keswick School pupil.

Nearly a decade of gruelling runs in rain or shine, the sacrifices and the early nights have led to this moment and, while he is excited about the future and what this latest success could mean for him, Dustin is keen to appreciate the hard work and dedication it has already taken to get to where he is.

He said: “My first performance was in 2010. I just went down to the track one day and started really enjoying it.

“It’s only been over the last few years that I’ve become good.

“I’ve committed everything to it and had to think of so many little things that you wouldn’t expect.

“I go to bed at 9.30pm every night, turn up to every training session and run twice every day.

“Some days I’ve got to go out running, get absolutely soaked and it’s windy and cold, then I’ve got to do it all again.

“Sometimes I question why I’m doing this and what it’s for, but it’s for the moments like I had on Sunday.

“I wouldn’t change anything.”

Dustin trains at Whitehaven’s Copeland Stadium as part of Graeme Mason’s group with Cockermouth runner Olivia Mason.

Despite having to micromanage his life to ensure he is in peak condition and ready to perform, he admitted he is not jealous of others who can go out and eat, drink or do what they would like every weekend.

“It’s not something that really crossed my mind,” he said.

“I’m very competitive – I just want to win and I know what it takes.

“To get to an Olympics is definitely a target and that would be amazing.

“That’s what I really want to do; to run professionally and perform against the best.

“It’s just a stepping stone and I’m on the right pathway towards that.

“It will take an awful lot of hard work and luck but I’m ready for that.”