LANGHAM high jumper Thomas Hewes will be hoping to make it a Great Britain debut to remember when he competes at the European Junior Athletics Championships in Italy today.

The talented 17-year-old will be looking to make an impact on his GB bow when he goes in search of success at the under-20 event, in Grosseto.

Qualifying in the high jump in Italy takes place today, with the final scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

Hewes, who is a student at Colchester Sixth Form College, is now coached by former GB high jumper John Herbert - who competed at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics - and says he is reaping the rewards.

He said: "I put a lot of work into my winter training and this, together with the support of my coaches at Chelmsford AC and my new lead coach John Herbert, is really paying off now.”

Hewes has flown to Italy in confident mood, having produced an outstanding performance at the English Schools Athletics Championships.

Representing Essex, he achieved a personal best (PB) of 2.15 metres at the national event in Birmingham.

Hewes, currently ranked number three in the UK under-20 high jump rankings, made a substantial contribution to one of the best high jump competitions seen at the championships for many years.

Of the 18 entrants in the senior boys' event, only six remained as the bar moved above 2.0m.

And by the time it reached 2.06m, Hewes was one of the trio of remaining athletes who went on to thrill the crowd with their performances.

After setting a new PB of 2.15m, he finally had to settle for bronze on a day when the event winner cleared an incredible 2.22m.

No athlete at the championships has cleared 2.15m or more since 2007 yet this year, three jumpers all managed it in one session.

Hewes said: “My clearance would have been good enough for gold in any year of the last decade.

"But I was delighted to register a PB at the biggest junior competition of the year – and 2.15m means that I’m now up to 12th in the Senior UK rankings – at the age of 17.

"I came into this season with a PB of 2.05m and a target of 2.10m, so to have exceeded my target already is far more than I could have hoped for."

Hewes quickly added to that achievement by helping England South claim victory over Wales in an event, in Cardiff.

Meanwhile, Hewes will also be involved at the World Athletics Championships in London, next month - but not as a competitor.

His club - Chelmsford Athletic Club - will be kit carriers at the international event and their members will be delegated to certain events.