SAM Bennett has been crowned the new 110m hurdles European champion.

Bennett won gold in the European Under-18 Championships after notching a championship record time of 13.19 seconds.

And the Basildon Athletics Club member was overjoyed to triumph in his first competition as a representative of Great Britain.

Bennett, 17, said: “I am still very overwhelmed by the excitement and emotions which followed my race.

“It feels incredible to be able to say I am the European champion.

“To hold both the championship record and British under-18 record is the cherry on top.”

Bennett - who hails from Langdon Hills - qualified for the semi-finals before taking first place to book his place in the final, which boasted the eight leading competitors.

The Southend High School for Boys pupil’s time of 13.19 seconds allowed him to stand at the top of the podium and win a gold medal.

The European Under-18 Championships, held in Gyor, Hungary, gave Bennett the opportunity to represent Great Britain for the first time in his athletics career.

The highly-rated youngster has enjoyed success for Team England as he won gold in the 110m hurdles at the Commonwealth Youth Games last year.

After showing great promise, Bennett was delighted to earn his first Great Britain call-up.

And the hurdler confirmed he enjoyed his time with the squad.

Bennett added: “The Great Britain team has given great support.

“I love getting to know new people and the other athletes are all inspiring and positive personalities.

“That keeps me going, allows me to chill out and enjoy my free time, which we have so much of.

“On top of that, I have enjoyed the company and support of new team coaches and managers.

“They have taken me under their wing and ensured I was ready and able to compete at my best.”

The teenager’s win resulted in Bennett earning praise from 110m hurdles icons Colin Jackson and Andrew Pozzi.

And Bennett will be looking to build on his championship record display.