ERME Valley Harriers steeplechase specialist Will Battershill has been named among the first athletes to feature in two new talent hubs created by British Athletics and supported by London Marathon Events.
The pilot talent hubs will be based at the University of Birmingham and Leeds Beckett University and have been created to provide a pathway from junior talent to world-class performers.
London Marathon Events is providing funding for the hubs’ endurance athletes, with the first intake including 27 athletes at Birmingham and 25 in Leeds.
GB junior international Battershill, who graduated from Harvard University in America this year, is named in the Birmingham hub.
The former Ivybridge Community College pupil was ranked top under-23 steeplechaser in the UK last year and, although he did not run over the barriers this year due to Covid-19, he was ranked second fastest under-23 over the 3,000m flat with an impressive 7:55.99 run in February.
Great Britain senior international steeplechaser Zak Seddon will be one of his training partners and mentors in Birmingham.
Athletes in the two hubs, who are on different support packages, will benefit from free facility training access, physiotherapy and strength and conditioning programmes, psychological workshops and mentoring for both the coach and athlete pairs.
Luke Gunn, head of athletics and talent hub manager at the University of Birmingham, said: “We are delighted to be able add some new and deserving athletes to receive this excellent support at the Birmingham Talent Hub this year.
“Even during such an uncertain past year, we have seen some brilliant performances from athletes on the hub with 17 personal bests across the board, and six of our endurance athletes claiming British Championship medals.
“With the continued support of the partners, we hope to aid the athlete and coach towards senior success as well as grow the athletic benefits in the West Midlands area; which has so much promising athletic talent.”
The hubs have been developed by British Athletics in collaboration with the Home Country Athletics Federations. England Athletics will be supported by the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) at the University of Birmingham and Leeds Beckett University hubs.
Spencer Duval, England Athletics’ national endurance lead, said: “The partnership with London Marathon Events is an excellent opportunity for endurance athletes to benefit from world-class facilities and opportunities offered at the two talent hubs.
“London Marathon Events has had a long partnership with endurance and these hubs offer a fantastic opportunity for runners to move along the performance pathway and hopefully represent their country in major events.”