ERME Valley Harriers athlete Will Battershill will make his Great Britain debut on Friday at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia.
The Ivybridge Community College pupil will compete in the heats of the 2,000m steeplechase.
Battershill will be up against the best Africa has to offer. Athletes from Kenya and Ethiopia fill the top 10 spots in the world youth rankings in the steeplechase.
If Battershill can progress through the heats, then the final will be on Sunday.
The World Youth Championships have proved a major stepping stone for some of the planet’s top athletics stars. The likes of Usain Bolt, Valerie Adams and Kirani James are just a few of the big names to have won medals in the under-18 event.
Plymouth athlete David King, who has just returned from the European Under-23 Championships, has told 17-year-old Battershill to learn from his experience in South America.
“This is a great start for Will,” said 21-year-old King. “He’s doing really well and I just hope he can keep it going.”
He added: “I went to the European Juniors two years ago but was injured. I ran my heat and got through to the semis but there was no chance of me running in the semis.
“Last week’s championship felt like my first international, because it was the first one I was competitive for and I learnt so much from it.
“I’ve learnt from my mistakes, which is a bit annoying, but now I know how to approach a championship in the future.
“As a junior you can’t get too far ahead of yourself. It’s great to make it to events like the World Youths but you have to keep it going to senior ranks.
“It is all about progressing a bit more each year and learning.”