RUBEN Hedman is going from strength to strength after making a successful step up to the under-23 age group.

The 19-year-old sprint hurdler, who is the son of former Colchester United favourite Rudi Hedman who made more than 200 appearances for the U's between 1984 and 1991, is now competing against senior athletes.

Hedman kicked off his season positively by winning the gold at the South of England Championships earlier this month, clocking a personal best (PB) of 7.97.

The former Colchester Sixth Form College student was then invited to compete at last weekend's Microplus UK Indoor Championships (British Championships), in Birmingham.

There were 32 male hurdlers competing in the competition and after racing alongside David King and coming second in his heat, Hedman reached the final as a non-automatic qualifier (fourth fastest loser).

This was such a massive achievement, as the Shaftesbury Barnet athlete is still only 19 years old and it is his first year in this age group.

Hedman, who has previously raced for GB at under-18 level, came eighth in the final racing against some enormous talented athletes, such as Tade Ojora.

He had an amazing experience and is super focused to continue to perform well in the outdoor season.

Hedman, who is currently ranked ninth in the UK at senior level and ranked second as an under-23, is the nephew of successful darts player Deta Hedman and cousin of 400m runner Graham Hedman.