20-year-old James Speight has his sights set on a lofty goal.
Having finished fourth in the European u23 duathalon back in April, the Belnaleck born athlete is now looking towards the World Games, at senior level, at the end of this month.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing, however. The athlete had two scares – a calf injury ruled out the month of May, while a fall from a bike looked like a broken collarbone, yet, luckily, it was only badly bruised.
“Training is quite intense at the moment,” James told the Fermanagh Herald this week.
“I’d run close to 60 – 70 miles a week. I’d be on the bike 10 hours plus. I’d also have core gym sessions, drills – it’s non stop.”
The World Games, held between July 25 and August 4 in Cali, Columbia this year, sees a plethora of the world’s finest athletes come together.
“It’s a bit like the Olympics. It comes around every four years,” James explained.
“It’s the same set up as any major games. You have an opening ceremony, closing ceremony, you stay in an athletes village.”
James is currently coached by Mark Connolly and Eamonn Tilly, while he cited former local Olympian Ann Cairns as a major influence. His bike is sponsored by Lakeland Bikes.
Back in April, James came fourth in the European championships, and now, his sites are firmly set on the upcoming games.
“It is about the experience – it’ll be my first major games. I’m going there to get a result, I’m not going all the way just to go round the track. I’ve been doing a bit of research and the majority of athletes would be professional.
“There are 50 – 60 in the race, so if I was top 25 I’d be delighted.”
He concluded: “I’m excited, nervous too, but hopefully everything should go well.”
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