An 18-year-old Saddleworth girl has spoken of her delight in becoming the first athlete from the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation to qualify for the Aviva World Trials and UK Championships 2012.
Tyra Watson qualified for the women’s 400m and 800m to cement her place alongside prestigious international athletes at the Championships in Sheffield on February 11 and 12.
She is a member of Sale Harriers Athletics Club and studies Sport and Sport Development at Manchester Metropolitan University.
An ecstatic Tyra said: “I couldn’t believe it when I found out I had qualified, it was a total shock. I am so excited now but I know I will be nervous on the day.
“It’s something that wasn’t even in our plans and it’s just a massive bonus.”
Former British Olympian, Commonwealth champion and DMSF founder Diane Modahl said: “We’re delighted with Tara, but this is very early days, and it is only the start of her development.
“[The championships are] an amazing opportunity for Tyra to learn and develop her skills.”
Diane, originally from Longsight, added: “To hear that one of our athletes has made it to the finals is really big news for us.”
Tyra has set participation in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as her long-term goal, but says she is keeping her feet on the ground and is just focusing on training hard and improving her times before the championships next month.
DMSF coach Vicente Modahl spoke of his “excitement” for Tyra, and stressed that athletes like her and others are just starting to scratch the surface of their potential.
Her achievements are a terrific boost for the DMSF, who give coaching opportunities to students and youngsters, focusing on those in under-privileged areas who may not have easy access to a high standard of coaching.
Their aim is to reach beyond the Manchester area, and to work with 100 schools and 1000 students throughout the country by 2015.
They are also planning a new Olympic Inspiration awareness event in June, to raise further funding and recognition for the work they do.