SOLIHULL pole vaulter Rowan May is determined to raise the bar and qualify for the European Junior Athletics Championships after making a full recovery from serious injury.
The 17-year-old rising star was dealt a huge blow when he tore a tendon in his knee in October 2011, ruling him out for the entire 2012 summer season.
But the Birchfield Harrier is back to full fitness and has his sights set on a trip to Rieti in Italy for the European Juniors next July.
“I’m feeling great and I’m back in vaulting training now,” said May, who is studying for his A-Levels at King Edward VI Camp Hill School in Birmingham.
“The indoor season starts soon and I feel ready. I’d like to compete in January but it’s in the middle of my exams so we’ll have to see.
“It was refreshing to have some time with the pressure off so I could really focus on recovery.
“It was important not to get too carried away and to make sure I was fully fit before throwing myself back into it, but I’m there now and all set.”
May’s main goal for the season is to secure a spot at the European Juniors.
To do so he must vault at least 5m to qualify, eight centimetres higher than his personal best of 4.92m set during his winning performance at the Midlands U17 Championships in 2011.
And with a new, longer pole to vault with May believes the target is now within his grasp and is not afraid to cast his thoughts forward to when athletics returns to London in 2017 for the World Championships.
“I know I need to go that little bit higher to qualify,” said the 2011 England U20 champion, who benefits from being a member of the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes programme.
“It’s important not to focus too much on the height increase as I don’t want it to become a mental stumbling block for me.
“I just need to keep doing what I’m doing and I’m sure it will come sooner or later.
“My new pole is 15cm longer, which makes it possible to go higher. But, it requires much more strength to use.
“The Olympics were amazing, and I was lucky enough to be at the stadium on Super Saturday.
“2017 should be an incredible championships as the facilities in London now are top class. Hopefully by then I’ll be reaching my peak so it could be the perfect championships for me.”
Lloyds TSB Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 346 of Britain’s most talented developing athletes on their journey to London 2012 and beyond. Since 2008, the programme has supported 1,000 athletes. Follow future stars at facebook.com/lloydstsblocalheroes