Rising star earns college place

A YOUNG Woodbridge triathlete has been awarded a two year scholarship to one of the countries top sporting schools, known best for its swimming excellence.

A YOUNG Woodbridge triathlete has been awarded a two year scholarship to one of the countries top sporting schools, known best for its swimming excellence.

Will Meadows, 16, formerly of Farlingaye High School, has been offered a place at Kelly College in Devon, a school that has produced some of Britain's brightest swimmers.

The college has had either a current or former pupil at every Olympic Games since 1980, producing 14 Olympians in all, including Sharon Davies and Beijing competitor Mark Foster. In addition to this the College were represented by two triathletes in Beijing, as well as entering a number of swimmers in the upcoming Paralympics.

Meadows said: “I am very proud to have been offered a place at Kelly College, and I am equally proud to be selected to represent them at triathlon. The training I am going to receive there is really what I need to push on to the next level and to convert my potential into results. Swimming is my favourite event, and obviously Kelly has a history of this, so I will definitely benefit there, but I believe they will also improve my cycling and running.”

Will travels all over the country and to Europe to compete, and receives extensive sponsorship from top triathlon supplier TRI UK, something he believes to be very important, he said: “They are fantastic with me and supply all of the equipment which I need to compete, including my bike, wetsuit, and all of my energy drinks. I am very lucky to get this, and I really value their support and belief in me as an athlete. They are the countries biggest triathlon store, and also run Europe's biggest triathlon team, so by just having their name linked to me is good for my reputation. They are looking to expand the sport of triathlon in this country, and to be part of that is a good feeling.”

Meadows has also received support from the University of Essex, receiving coaching from world class trainer Dave Parry. “Dave is a great coach who supports my training well”, said Will, “he gives me good advice on which competitions to enter, and the bursary I receive has helped me with my training plans.”

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Meadows, has missed a number of triathlons this year due to a rib injury, and while he is obviously disappointed, Meadows can see the positive side of his injuries. The injury has allowed him to concentrate on his education, and achieve the grades he needed for college, he said, “I wanted to focus more on my studies, and the injuries gave me time to do this, I focused on my exams and this paid off on results day.”

Meadows will be looking to get back to the form that saw him finish third in the London triathlon, once he has recovered from injury.

Meadows certainly has his eyes fixed firmly on the future and is keen to progress both athletically, and academically, he said: “My hopes for the future are to race for Kelly College, and also focus on my academic achievement. It's hard to do both, but this is my target, and this is what I am going to do.”

Will also has dreams of going to university, and while he has no firm plans as to where or what he will study, he is very keen to continue his education, as well as his triathlon, with a sports science course at Loughborough University looking like the best option available.

With his feet very firmly on the ground, Will is keen to play down any talk of the London Olympics in 2012, he said: “Obviously it is any athletes dream to compete at the Olympics, and I am no different, but while a lot of people have talked to me about them, I have always competed in triathlon for fun, and that is how I will carry on. I really admire and look up to all of the athletes that competed in Beijing, especially in triathlon, and Kelly's record of success is incredible, so that is something to admire and aspire to as well. If I can get anywhere near Olympic level then I will take it from there, but at this stage it's about me doing and improving at the sport I enjoy, but if I am good enough when it comes around in 2012, then of course I would love to give it a go, who wouldn't?”