WILL BATTERSHILL described competing for Great Britain at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Colombia as ‘an incredible experience’.
The 17-year-old Erme Valley Harriers athlete represented his country in the 2,000m steeplechase in Cali.
In hot conditions at the impressive 43,000-plus capacity Estadio Olimpico Pascual Guerrero stadium, Battershill dug deep in the heats to reach the final on his GB debut before finishing 14th overall 48 hours later.
“It was an incredible experience,” said Battershill, who was one of 33 athletes competing in his event. “But it was completely different to anything I’m used to.
“Just going aboard with that heat and the massive stadium was a really good experience.”
Ivybridge Community College pupil Battershill had only run a handful of 2,000m steeplechases before but found himself doing two in three days in big, world-class fields in South America.
“I’m not used to that kind of championships racing,” said Battershill, who is normally used to setting the pace.
“I have only done about five or six 2,000m steeplechases, so it is still pretty new to me.”
He added: “I was a bit disappointed with my times, but I just really wanted to make the final, which I did.
“Hopefully, it will be a good experience to take into future senior championships, if I make them.”
Battershill enjoyed being part of the Great Britain team and he is hoping it won’t be the last time.
“That was really good,” he said. “I had the chance to make friends with all these elite athletes.
“Also in the training areas you’d be chatting to other athletes from other countries. It was all just really good.
“There’s other international opportunities in the cross country this winter and I think next summer and the summer after there are the World Juniors and Commonwealth Juniors.”
Battershill was delighted to hear so many members of his club and the region’s athletics community were following his progress in South America.
“It was great to put Erme Valley’s name on GB and compete for them over there,” he said.
The teenager was back in action less than a week after competing in Colombia when he took part in the Cornwood 10k Challenge on Saturday evening.
Battershill finished second behind course record breaker Jim Cole.
It was the Erme Valley Harriers athlete’s first run since returning from the other side of the world and he was more than happy with how it went, especially considering he had not done any distance training.