Teenager Isaac Towers has earned a call-up to the elite Great Britain squad for next month’s World Para Athletics Championships at the London Stadium.
The 18-year-old wheelchair athlete from Blackpool Wyre and Fylde AC has been chosen for two events against the world’s best, the T34 400m and 800m at the championships, which take place from July 14 to 23.
Catterall-based Towers’ avowed ambition is to claim a medal in front of his partisan home supporters but he knows that the competition will be red hot.
He said: “I am not going to make any predictions by saying I am going to win a medal but I feel I can be contention for one.
“Obviously that is what you go for when you take part in a championship where everyone is going all out to win.
“A lot of it will depend on how you perform on the day. I just concentrate on what I can control. That is in my hands, though I can’t control is what other people can do.”
Towers, who made his Paralympic debut at Rio last year, added: “As well as the athletes you have raced against before, there can always be someone young popping up who you may never has heard much about.”
Despite his comparatively tender years, Towers has already proved himself capable of competing and excelling at top level, winning gold in the 800m in the 2016 European Championships in Grosseto, Italy, and silver in the 400m to emphasise his vast potential.
Towers is one of the youngest athletes on the 49-strong GB squad and has just returned from competing in Switzerland, where his times have been encouraging.
He spoke of his delight at selection a nd added: “I now have around five weeks to prepare.
“I have just got back from Switzerland, competing against the same athletes I will face in London, and I got a personal best in the 800m, so I’m good to go.
“It was a good marker for me in terms of my times and my performances.
“I won’t be doing anything particularly different to the way I trained for Rio.
“I will be working on preparation with my coach (Peter Wyman), so that I peak for July.
“I will probably be going to Ireland to compete in races over there and getting race practice before London.
“I have finished college, so now I have the time to concentrate fully on athletics.”
Having completed his course at Cardinal Newman College in Preston, Towers is hoping to gain a place at Loughborough University in September.
Ten Paralympic gold medallists are in the GB squad and head coach Paula Dunne said: “I expect the public to throw their support behind the team and create some unforgettable memories.”