ACCRINGTON athletics sensation Leigh Lennon has set her sights on the World Junior Championships after being given a helping hand by double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes.
The 16-year-old - whose dream is to compete in the 2012 Olympics - was one of 40 youngsters handpicked to take part in a ten-day educational camp in Loughborough as part of Holmes’ Norwich Union funded ‘On Camp with Kelly’ scheme.
Lennon, who attends Accrington and Rossendale College, earned the right to join the middle-distance camp after impressing the 2004 Athens hero during February’s selection day in Birmingham.
And after seeing Holmes at close quarters in Loughborough, the Ribble Valley Athletics Club star insists she is hungry to qualify for July’s World Junior Championships in Poland at her favoured event 800 metres.
"This year is quite a big year with the World Junior Championships coming up in Poland," said Lennon, who was also instructed on topics such as injury prevention, hydration, nutrition, medical issues and anti-doping.
"My aim is to qualify for that and I hope this camp and Kelly can really help me to achieve that.
"It would be a great experience and one I would very much look forward to.
"She is such an inspiration to everyone and all her talks really help. I had quite a successful year last year and managed to set new personal bests and also the indoor season has gone well for me this year."
Holmes masterminded the Norwich Union-funded scheme in 2004, with her initial crop including the likes of East Lancashire’s 800m 2007 British No.5 Laura Finucane, who is hoping to qualify for the Beijing Olympics in August.
And two-time Commonwealth champion, Holmes, can’t wait to help Lennon and the rest of the 2008 class to similar success.
"I know all the older girls and I know about their performances, I know them as people and I have a good chemistry," said Holmes.
"I’m now starting to get to know a new set of people and they are different individuals.
"They are just as keen and are taking everything on board and I hope they are learning a lot.
"I always give the girls one and one time and that is crucial as athletes are individuals and all have different needs, requests, worries and therefore all want different advice – so it is crucial I give them that."
l NORWICH Union is working with Kelly Holmes to prepare future champions through her successful mentoring scheme, 'On Camp with Kelly'.
Now in its fourth year, the educational camp will see a trial introduction of boys to the programme.