LANGHAM high jumper Thomas Hewes secured an impressive silver at the England Athletics Age Group Championships, in Sheffield.

His fine performance has earned him selection for the England under-20 team in their match against Wales in Cardiff, this weekend.

He came up against his long-time rival Joel Khan from Worcester, with both aiming for the 2.17 metres World Junior Championships qualification standard in the under-20 men's high jump.

As the bar moved to 2.10m, only Hewes and Khan were left in the competition.

With a first-time clearance at 2.13m, Hewes took the lead and looked set for victory.

Khan cleared 2.13m the second time of asking and went on to achieve the 2.17m target, which Hewes was unable to match.

Hewes' aim for 2018 is to secure selection for the GB team going to the World Junior Championships in Finland, in July.

The GB qualification standard is 2.17m, with Hewe's personal best (PB) currently 2.15m.

Hewes has predominantly been concentrating on strength and conditioning training, in the months since last summer.

He has had regular trips to Lee Valley Athletics Centre, where he is guided by his lead coach ex-Olympian John Herbert.

He has been combining that with equally regular visits to his club Chelmsford AC, where he is directed by strength and conditioning experts Darren Stratton and Lianne Nothard.

At both venues he has been pushed extremely hard physically, although a persistent ankle injury frustrated some of his plans in December and early January and caused him to miss some sessions.

The ankle injury forced him to skip the South of England Indoor Championships and decline an invitation to compete at the British Indoor Championships.

But he returned to action at the London Indoor Games and the Essex County and Eastern Region Indoor Championships, where he put in solid but impressive performances for the early season.

He recorded clearances of 2.07m and 2.05m, setting a new Essex under-20 indoor high jump record.

Hewes said: “As my coach says had I not missed that block of training due to the ankle injury in December, I may well have achieved the standard this weekend too.

"But he’s now planning six weeks extremely hard graft for me, back in the gym, before the outdoor season gets under way in April/May and some more work on technique improvements that should make a big difference.

"I’m confident that I’m very much on track for that trip to Finland, in July."