By Tom Reynolds, Sportsbeat 0870 445 0156
Sale Harrier Clovis Asong has set his sights on a starring role at this year’s World Junior Championships after being selected as part of the highly successful Spar Sprints Programme for 2012.
The 400m runner is one of eight talented young athletes who have been chosen for the initiative which includes the likes of 2008 Olympian Martyn Rooney and 60m national hurdles indoor champion Andy Pozzi among its former graduates.
At 17 Asong is approaching the age where he needs to start delivering on his obvious talent, which saw him labelled the UK’s answer to Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt as a 14-year-old when he smashed the British under-15 record for 400m in just his second-ever attempt at the one lap.
And while the Loreto College pupil is not one to get carried away with his own hype he is aiming big in 2012, with success in Barcelona this July at the top of his agenda.
“I’m aiming for the World Junior Championships and to do well there,” said Asong, speaking at the launch of the 2012 Spar Sprint Stars programme in Birmingham.
“I’m feeling pretty confident because I’ve trained pretty hard this year.
“My ultimate aims are to make it as a professional and be up there with the best. “One of my main dreams is to compete in the Olympic Games.
Previously I’ve been doing more speed work but this season I’ve been working on more endurance stuff. I run four miles on Fridays; Mondays I do more 600 metres.
“I think it’s gone pretty good, I’m pretty happy because I’m doing well.
“I’d be pretty happy if I make the World Juniors, that’s my target this year.”
Asong need only look as far as current 60m hurdles indoor champion Pozzi as an example of how the scheme can help a young career with the young sprint hurdler coming on leaps and bounds in 2011.
And Asong believes he is perfectly placed to follow Pozzi’s lead.
“It feels pretty great to be on the SPAR Sprints programme because it helps young people like me get the support they need,” he added.
“It’s going to help me because I’m going to have people around me who have the same abilities as me.”
‘Brought to you by SPAR, Official Sponsors of UK Athletics. For more information visit www.spar.co.uk’