INTERVIEW: Wokingham athlete Josh Zeller outlines Olympic dream ahead of Team GB Finland trip

Zeller is one of the best U20 hurdlers in the world

AMBITIOUS Wokingham teenager Josh Zeller has his eyes on another medal as he continues on the path to his Olympic dream.

The athlete from Woosehill is preparing for a trip to Tampere, Finland at the weekend for the IAAF World Under-20 Championships to represent Great Britain in the 110-metre hurdles.

Zeller, 17, heads to the event in good form having won a silver medal at the Mannheim Junior Gala in Germany last month and is currently ranked in the world’s top 10 for his discipline.

“I am very pleased with the silver medal,” he told The Wokingham Paper.

“I was expecting to do fairly well because I’m quite highly ranked at the moment, so I was very pleased with it especially because I’ve just been selected for the world junior team.

Josh Zeller is targeting another medal next week

“I’m going to Finland so I’m very excited for that.

“I was ranked sixth in the U20s but I think I’ve gone down to ninth. It’s quite cool to think about.

“I’m actually a first year in the age group so I’ll be one of the youngest at the competition.”

He added: “The event in Finland is the pinnacle of my season.

“My target is to get to the final.

“Anything can happen in the final, but you’ve got to get there first.”

Former Forest School pupil Zeller currently juggles his maths, geography and business studies at Henley College with 10 hours of training each week, mostly at Bracknell Athletics Club.

He is now in the process of looking at universities, with the hope of clinching a scholarship to continue to pursue his athletics career in the USA.

Should he make it, it would be quite the journey from first trying hurdling at The Hawthorns Primary School.

“When I was in primary school I did athletics club and then I did very well in a competition we did in the Wokingham area with all the schools in,” explained Zeller.

“So my PE teacher recommended joining an athletics club. I started in a middle distance group so used to do cross country, then I started hurdling because I had a friend from my primary school that was doing it as well and when they started I thought I want to try that.

“My PE teacher just said I would be good at it so I tried it and then eventually moved from middle distance to sprinting and hurdling.”

Next week’s contest in Finland is without doubt at the front of Zeller’s mind as he looks to add to his medal collection, having also won silver at the prestigious School Games in Loughborough last year.

But he also has his eyes on big things in the future, notably Paris 2024.

“I’d like to go to the 2024 Olympics,” he said.

“Because I’m under 20 still, by the time it’s 2020 I will have only been a senior hurdler for one year, so it’s not very realistic for me to think I can go to that Olympics.

“So my target is the 2024 one.

“I think I’m the 10th best all-time on the British rankings with my PB of 13.49, so I’m in a good place.”

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