LANGHAM high jumper Thomas Hewes has already switched his attention to next year's World Junior Championships after making his Great Britain bow.

The Colchester Sixth Form College student made his international debut when he competed at the European U20 Athletics Championships in Grosseto, Italy.

Hewes was disappointed not to make it past a height of two metres - but is already looking towards the World Junior Championships, which take place in Finland in July, 2018.

Hewes said: “The GB team management made it clear that my inclusion in the squad this time was primarily about gaining my first experience of international competition and to prepare me for events like the World Championships next year.

"From that perspective, the week spent in Grosseto will, I am sure, prove to be invaluable.

"I am now more determined than ever to put every effort into my training over the next 12 months and to ensure that not only do I achieve the 2.16m qualification standard and gain selection but to get to the High Jump final next year and therefore be in contention for a medal.

"I do have the small matter of my A Levels to sit next year too, though!”

Hewes was a late addition to a squad which already included two high jumpers, following his outstanding performance at the prestigious English Schools Championships in Birmingham, where he jumped a new personal best (PB) of 2.15m.

The 17-year-old started well in the event in Italy and felt comfortable, as he cleared the first two heights.

But given the quality of the competition, he needed to clear a height close or around his PB to progress through to the final and bowed out.

Hewes said: "I take great confidence though in knowing that had I matched my PB, I would have been in the final round of the top Junior event in Europe – as a first year in the three year age group.

“I received the call-up less than a week before the squad flew out to Italy so it was a bit of a whirlwind, getting everything organised in time and I still couldn’t quite believe it when I took my seat on the plane, as one of four debutants.

“I changed coach earlier this year and due to the timing of the Track and Field season, we haven’t had a chance yet to put into practice all of the improvements in my technique that he has planned for me.

"I’ve also been suffering from one or two nagging injuries all season, so I’m hoping that with my coach’s changes, another winter strength and conditioning programme and 100 per cent fitness, 2018 will prove to be another top year for me.

"I’ve improved my PB by ten centimetres this year already and I know there is a lot more to come.”

Hewes is back in action this weekend when he competes for the Essex Senior team at the AAA/UKCAU Championships at Bedford on Saturday, where he will again be up against many of the top senior high jumpers in the country.