An international vest is the perfect reward for the dogged determination shown by City of Portsmouth talent Elliott Evans as he prepares to represent English Schools this weekend.
The 15-year-old multi-eventer will compete in the Schools Combined Events International - an indoor competition held at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.
He had to overcome a hamstring injury in the first event of the English Schools Combined Events Championships last month to book his place.
It showed fantastic character from the City prospect who cleared the pain barrier to finish fourth.
Coach Terry Price believes his athlete will relish competing on the big stage.
He said: ‘Elliott is a fantastic young talent, he’s really competitive and so dedicated.
‘He’s a hard worker, you have to be. He’s done really well.
‘I want him to enjoy it. This is his reward. Hopefully he can go out there and be happy with how he performs. It’s a good stepping stone for him.
‘The English Schools multi-events competition was his target for the year.
‘He knew it was his big chance to get an international vest and he grabbed it with both hands despite the injury. It was amazing. He really wanted it.
‘We feel he would have been more than good enough to win it but he took his hamstring out in the first event.
‘Any other competition he would have stopped, to protect him.
‘This meant so much to him. He’s so dogged and determined. He could hardly walk between the events.
‘When you look at the events he was down on we feel he would have been English Schools champion. But that’s all subjective.
‘On the day he took one event at a time and got through it.
‘He still ended up in the top four.’
The work with the City training group has really paid off for Evans. He’s been able to develop alongside good quality multi-event athletes and is a highly-rated prospect.
Price added: ‘Elliott trains with another excellent multi-eventer Hollie Thurgood who is two years older than him.
‘They work really well together.
‘We have a really good training group, they are all like-minded people who will work hard.
‘Elliott is very strong and very fast.
‘He’s a fantastic hurdler, one of the best in the country. He’s high up the national rankings in the long jump as well.’
England take on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the Glasgow event which starts on Saturday.