WHEN the eyes of the world are on the athletes in the Olympic Stadium this year, one Bury schoolgirl will know just how they feel.
Beth Bolton, pictured, has been chosen to represent the North West at the UK School Games in May.
The games feature 12 sports, with cycling, swimming and athletics being staged at the Olympic park venues as one of the last major test events before the London 2012 Games.
As a 300m hurdler, 16-year-old Beth, from Holcombe Brook, will be one of the lucky few to set foot on the Olympic track before the likes of Usain Bolt and Jessica Ennis. “I’m really excited,” said the Woodhey High School pupil. “Not everyone gets the opportunity to compete in the Olympic Stadium so it’s a massive thing for me.”
Beth is no stranger to the big stage after representing Sale Harriers for the past six years.
She has won titles at the last three North West championships and represented the region in a host of national competitions for both her club and school.
Her most recent run-out was at the English Athletics Indoor Championships in Birmingham in February, where Beth finished sixth in the under-17s 300m final.
Beth’s main event, however, is the hurdles, although she is hoping not to repeat her last outing at a major games.
“I was winning last year’s 300m final at the English Schools Championships until I fell at the final hurdle,” said Beth.
“I’m determined not to do that in the Olympic Stadium. Fingers crossed I can make it all the way round and win a medal this time.”
Despite that bad memory, Beth is excited rather than nervous to be competing in the stadium. She is certainly not overawed by the prospect and dreams of returning one day in a Team GB vest.
“I don’t think I will be nervous – it depends how many people are there and how serious it feels, but competing is what I do.
“Like most young athletes, my ambition is to run at the Olympics.
“Jessica Ennis is my biggest inspiration. I have competed in some of the same events as her in the past and look where she is now. Hopefully that can be me one day.”
The UK School Games will take place at venues across London between May 6 and 9. The majority of sports will take place at the ExCel centre. These include badminton, fencing, gymnastics, judo, table tennis, volleyball and wheelchair basketball. The games also include rugby sevens and hockey.