Teen star Wynne ready to feel Chinese burn in bid for world glory

TEENAGE gas engineer Mike Wynne has credited gruelling training sessions on the hills around his home with helping him qualify for the Triathlon World Championships.

The 17-year-old from Lower Tean will be one of the youngest competitors in the ITU sprint junior event in Beijing this September.

​BEIJING BOUND: Mike Wynne will represent Great Britain at the Triathlon World Championships in China. Picture: Shaun Smith

BEIJING BOUND: Mike Wynne will represent Great Britain at the Triathlon World Championships in China. Picture: Shaun Smith

Wynne had a blinding start – almost literally – in the qualifying event at Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire, before eventually finishing second in the 17 to 19 age group.

The former Thomas Alleyne's High School pupil had his goggles kicked off in a boisterous start to the 750m open swim and needed to make his way through the murky water with his eyes closed.

But he made his way back through the field during the 20k bike ride and 5k run to secure a place in China.

I knew the swim was going to be tough, so I really didn't need being unable to see where I was going, laughed the youngster, who represents Stafford Triathlon Club.

It was very shallow water and I just had to keep going, hoping for the best. You always take a battering in the water, but I had never lost my goggles before.

However, I felt very fit because of my speed work on Hollington Bank, and I was able to keep aerodynamic on the bike and put in a good run to come home second. I've been out there in the snow, the rain and the wind over the winter and all the hard work was worth it for that result.

Wynne took up triathlon four years ago after receiving encouragement from his teacher, Stephanie Toft, and won the Three Spires junior race at Barton Marina, near Burton, in 2009 and 2010.

He currently works alongside his dad, who is also called Mike, but plans to join the Royal Marines on a path he believes could lead to a future as a professional athlete.

The Marines have an elite team of athletes and many go on to make it at the very top, but that is all a long way down the line, he said.

Belvoir was the hardest race I have ever experienced and now I am going to give it my all in preparation for Beijing, which will give me a world ranking.

Wynne, who only turned 17 last month, finished 88th out of 500 in the overall field and believes he has the right backing at Stafford to continue his progress.

He said: I've had great support from Phil Wolfe, David Hollyoak and Nicholas Tomkinson-Hill, as well as my family, and I want to do them all proud at the world championships.

It will be a fantastic experience whatever happens.

I just hope there will be a couple of rolling hills to make me feel at home.