JAVELIN thrower Harry Hughes has been selected to compete for Team GB this weekend - after battling back from a career-threatening injury.

The Essex University student will compete in the European Throwing Cup in Samorin, Slovakia, on the back of returning to action with the best British javelin throw in seven years.

Hughes, a third year student in Sports and Exercise Science at the university, is one of nine athletes included in the British squad for the competition and will lead the under-23 team.

The 21-year-old had been suffering from elbow pain which sidelined him for nearly two years but finally returned to action last month, throwing a personal best of 78.89 metres.

Now he is looking to follow that up with a positive performance for Team GB - and is targeting a medal-winning display.

Hughes said: “It’s a great way to start the season off.

"When I went there two years ago, I came fourth and I was at the bottom end of the age group, so I would like to come away with a medal this year.

"Obviously a gold would be ideal, but I just want to go there, come away with a medal and throw over 80 metres. That’s the plan.

"Let’s say that I threw over 83 metres. I’d qualify for the Olympics, for the senior World Championships.

"There’s a good chance that I could, all of a sudden, jump up.”

Hughes first represented his country in 2015 aged just 17 and over the next two years racked up appearances at both the European and World Junior Championships.

But following his victory at the British University Championship in May 2017, the Stowmarket-based athlete realised he needed to address the pain in his elbow, which dated back to an injury sustained in 2015.

The source of the pain was identified as the growth plates in his right elbow, the issue exacerbated by the stress of elite competition.

Surgery was seen as the best option, with two screws inserted in Hughes' elbow.

He said: “When they put it to me, they said, ‘We don’t really know what the outcome is going to be, but it’s the only thing we can do.'

“There was a lot of concern that the screws would snap when I threw again, but - touch wood - that hasn’t happened yet.

“When I tried to throw again last summer, it just felt completely alien.

"So there was a bit of time last year when I was a bit low and thinking, ‘Will I ever be able to get back to where I used to be?'"

Hughes is splitting the third year of his degree across two academic years, to allow him to focus on his return to competition.

He has received significant support from Essex’s Sports, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences team.

He added: “During the first couple of years, they helped me out with nutrition plans and still, to this day, they help me out with my body composition.

“When I was coming back from my surgery, I worked with Justin Mills, the Strength and Conditioning Coach.

"I’d also like to say thank you to Chris McManus and Kelly Murray.”