Bright Young Thing
PUBLISHED: 11:27 21 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:27 20 February 2013
Gareth Morris on athletics in Ashford, his Olympic hurdling dreams, personal bests, aviation and being a dab hand in the kitchen
BRIGHT YOUNG THING
Tell us about yourself
Im Gareth Morris, 19, and a student-athlete at Loughborough University. My chosen sport is athletics and my event is the 400m hurdles, in which I have specialised for the past two years.
Ive been a member of Ashford Athletics Club since 2004 and have represented them and Kent at 400m hurdles, 400m and 4x400m relay. Ive always enjoyed sport and have played everything from junior rugby to swimming and hockey.
Im aware that to achieve Olympic participation I must concentrate on athletics, particularly 400m hurdles. I am lucky enough to train in Kent with two excellent coaches Stella Bandou in Ashford and June Plews in Canterbury, a combination that allows me to gain benefit from all areas
What are you doing now?
Im studying Physics with Engineering at Loughborough University and am being coached there by Nick Dakin, who coaches 400m runners Martin Rooney (fifth in the Beijing Olympics and David Gillick (the two-time European indoor champion). He has also coached 400m hurdlers David Greene (current British number one), Rhys Williams and Chris Rawlinson (Commonwealth Games Gold medallist) to high levels of success. I am confident that I am in the right environment to progress to Olympic level. Im part of a small group athletes who train eight times over a six-day period. Its gruelling, but consistently improves standards.
What are your future ambitions?
To compete at the Olympics must be every athletes goal. To make the qualifying standard in the Commonwealth Games, where I hope to represent Wales in the 400m hurdles, will be a significant step to my ultimate goal of performing in the 2012 Olympics and beyond. And at some point in my life I would love to learn how to fly!
Whats best about living in Kent?
I live just outside the village of Throwley on a small single-track lane. When I wake up and the sun is shining and I walk to the bottom of my drive, I just stand and stare because you seem to look across endless patchwork fields, occasionally broken up with the odd tree line. It makes me smile and appreciate what a beautiful place we live in.
Your hobbies and interests?
Apart from athletics, I enjoy motorsport, driving my car (albeit a very old Polo!) and tinkering with engines, I am also interested in aviation. I love a good cycle with friends, and have been known to even get on a horse! I also secretly fancy myself as a bit of a chef.
Are you a Bright Young Thing?
Kent Life is looking for young, talented people under the age of 25. If you would like to nominate someone, or put yourself forward, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org, including a daytime telephone number.