KHAI Riley La-Borde is set for a whirlwind few weeks after he was named in Great Britain’s squad for the World Junior Athletics Championships in the USA.
The Purfleet teenager got the call he had been desperate for on Monday telling him he had made the squad for the championships which take place at one of world athletics’ most famous stadiums, Hayward Field in Oregon.
But it sparked a mad rush for the 110m hurdler who now has until Thursday to complete his work at Palmer’s College before he signs off.
“I’m over the moon,” said Riley La-Borde, 18. “This is what my whole season has been geared towards. I didn’t perform well at the trials and that really scared me, but it just goes to show that hard work pays off.
“It does mean that I’ve got to rush to get my college work done by Thursday, but it should be fine!”
The rush for Riley La-Borde comes because he is off to the English Schools Championships on Friday where he will defend his senior boys 110m hurdles title. He is then back for a day before meeting the rest of the GB juniors at Heathrow on Monday and jetting off to Oregon the next day.
“I watched the Diamond League at Oregon earlier in the season and I have done a little research on the track and I know it’s one of the most famous stadiums in the world,” he said. “It’s going to be a privilege to compete there.”
The championships will be Riley La-Borde’s second representing Great Britain. He was agonisingly close to making the final of the European Junior Championships in Italy last summer and says that experience will stand him in good stead in America.
“I learnt a lot during those championships,” he said. “And hopefully everything I learnt I can use this year. I know what to expect now, what the level of competition will be like and how to run in the qualifying rounds. There will probably be some people there who won’t have that experience.”
The 110m hurdles is one of the most competitive and high-class events in British juniors and, indeed, the world.
The British number one David Omoregie has run a British record time of 13.17s this year while France’s Wilhelm Belocian ran a European record of 13.15s in Mannheim at the weekend.
“It’s a tough event nationally,” Riley La-Borde said. “That’s good though because it drives standards up and there’s always someone to chase.”
Riley La-Borde’s best, 13.62s set in May, ranks him 19th in the world rankings. But he is confident he is much better than that.
“I was ranked around sixth not that long ago,” he said. “But I’m not going to let that get to me. It’s what happens on the day. Being ranked near the top can bring its own pressure and some people don’t deal with that well.
"I definitely know that I'm on the road to a PB."
The World Junior Championships start on Tuesday, July 22 with Riley La-Borde’s 110m hurdles heats taking place on the opening day.