Dereham’s Will Smith can count on David Weir’s support ahead of his Commonwealth Games bow
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Will Smith can count on a sporting icon to help him cope with his Commonwealth Games elevation to Team England's ranks.
The Dereham teenager has been selected alongside six-time Paralympic gold medallist David Weir to compete in the 1500m T54 event at Glasgow.
The 18-year-old, from Westfield, believes he can target a place in the final alongside his training partner, who he has worked with closely for the past five years under the guidance of coach Jenny Archer.
'I'm very fortunate to have him as someone to look up to and there is nothing better than training with the best. I don't take it for granted but it is invaluable,' said Smith. 'They told us a couple of weeks ago and it was a bit unexpected but it will be fantastic. It is my first major championships so it is something I am really looking forward to. It is a great opportunity for me to get experience and just to be in that senior team environment, the whole process of staying in the holding camp in Manchester before the Games and then going into the village. There'll be big crowds and something I am really looking forward to it. I'm hoping to make it through to the final, that is my main aim.'
Smith has had to balance his preparations with 'A' levels.
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'I had a good winter training, probably the toughest I've had as I am trying to make the transition from junior to senior competition. That has been a step up in terms of the amount and the intensity but I have managed to stay injury-free which is a big bonus,' he said. 'I've had exams the last few weeks so it has been about getting the balance right and once the exams are out of the way it will be back to full-time training. Next weekend I fly out to America for a competition in Indianapolis where I will be competing in the 800m and 1500m. That will be a chance to get my race head on and relax and that will be my last before the Commonwealths.'
The talented teenager will be well supported in Scotland.
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'My uncle lives up in Glasgow. He bought some tickets before I found out I was going and my parents and brother will make the trip up,' he said. 'Dad is a big part of it, he comes out on the bike with me on the road so it means a lot to us all.'