King’s Lynn teenage athlete Holland tipped for junior international honours after golden start to 2012

Teenage sensation Elliot Holland has been tipped to become a junior international athlete after enjoying a golden start to 2012.

The 14-year-old, who goes to King Edward VII School (KES) in King's Lynn, has won three major gold medals in as many months as he continues to blaze a glory trail in 400m circles.

Holland became Southern England indoor under-15 and Eastern England indoor under-15 champion in January before lifting the Scottish title, at under-16 level, earlier this month.

The teenager, who has been working with sprint-based coach Paul Merrell for almost a year, said: 'Paul and I have worked really hard, but winning events has definitely given me a lot more confidence.

'I feel like the effort is starting to pay off because I believe in myself more now. Paul talks a lot to me about tactics and gives me encouragement before races and that's really helping when I turn up to these events. He's helped my mental preparation hugely.

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'I've always wanted to run shorter distances and now I've got to decide what one to specialise in. I've done pretty well at all of them so far.

'My main goal now is to keep working hard, keep improving and qualify for the English Schools outdoor championships later this year.'

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Holland, part of KES' 'gifted and talented programme', ran a personal best 58.18s to pick up a English national indoor under-15 bronze at Birmingham's National Indoor Arena in February.

He is currently ranked sixth in the United Kingdom and fifth in England at 400m for his age group.

Merrell, who runs his own business, Merrell Speed Development, said: 'Elliot was more of a long-distance runner when I first started coaching him so we worked hard to get his engine right.

'It's just been three months of 'wow' this year. If he keeps improving like he has done in his first 10 or 11 months with me he's going to be amazing.

'To pull four major medals this early shows how good he is. The boy has a lot more left in the tank and I think he could become a junior international.'

Holland also made the 60m finals at the Eastern England championships and the Scottish 200m semi-finals.

His father Roger said: 'Elliot was always pretty nervous, but now he is starting to flourish. His confidence has grown massively since he has been with Paul, who I can't thank enough. It's a great partnership.

'We're all so proud of him and as long as he's got a smile on his face we will continue to support him every step of the way.'

? Have you got any West Norfolk sports news? Do you want your story covered? Contact Gavin Caney on 01553 777625, via email at or on Twitter @GavinCaney for further information.

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