The 2018 Commonwealth Games are in full swing in Gold Coast, Australia. But in Stoke-on-Trent, 18-year-old hurdler Seamus Derbyshire is already targeting a place at the 2022 Games in Birmingham.
Derbyshire is currently studying for his A levels at college, but he has already tasted sporting success. Having switched from gymnastics to athletics in 2013, the teenager qualified for the Commonwealth Youth Games last June.
“England Athletics set a qualifying time for all the different events,” Derbyshire explained. “So I had about five opportunities to run the time, which for me was 53.5 seconds. I managed to run it twice.
“And then about a month or so before we’d fly out to the Bahamas, we found out whether we made the team. We got a phone call, and it was either a yes or no answer, and luckily for me I got the yes.”
For Derbyshire, his selection came as something of a shock.
“Lots of people had the standard, and there was only 25 people [on Team England],” the teen explained. “And for them to put trust in someone who hadn’t actually been to an international competition before was a really nice feeling.”
Still, this was nothing compared to the surprise of winning a silver medal in the 400 metres hurdles.
“To get a silver medal was completely out of the question,” Derbyshire emphasised. “I came into the competition ranked sixth, and never having done an international competition before. So when I went there, and ended up running a personal best of 52.00 seconds and getting the silver, it was a shock to the whole team there, to me and to my family at home.
“It was beyond our expectations. We’d initially set out just to make the final, so to get a medal was sort of the icing on the cake.”
The podium finish has only increased the aspiring pro’s ambition, but schoolwork is still very much in the picture.
“I do like to dedicate myself to training a lot – like I go to Loughborough every Saturday, so I instantly lose from nine until one every Saturday,” Derbyshire said. “So it’s just making sure I get the work done when I initially have it, and not letting too much get on top of me, because then it also puts stress on me which not only damages my education, but it also damages my running. [And] I don’t want either to suffer.”
Having come runner-up in Staffordshire’s Aspiring Sportsperson of the Year award last November, Derbyshire is now sure of his short term goals.
“For the rest of this year, [the aim is]to get the grades I need to go to Loughborough, and continue to train there,” the rising star shared. “And the aim for this year is hopefully to make the World Junior Team in Finland, and then within my career as an under 20, next year go to the European juniors, and hopefully try and medal like I did at the Commonwealths last year.
“And then really far into the future, Commonwealths, Olympics, World Championships is definitely what I’d like.”
Trentham’s Jazmin Sawyers claimed a silver medal in the long jump at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. But in four years time, it could be a 22-year-old Seamus Derbyshire who is representing Staffordshire on the podium at one of the biggest athletics events in the world.
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To see StaffsLive’s full interview with Seamus Derbyshire, click HERE.