BURY athlete Hannah Kelly could get a taste of things to come after being picked for the North of England team in the National School Games.

Selection for an event that has previously launched the careers of Team GB athletes Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Adam Gemili, amongst others, is just reward for the 16-year-old sprinter after winning a haul of medals in regional and national tournaments this year.

The St Gabriel's High School Pupil will take to the track at Loughborough University as part of the multi-sport event, which starts today and runs until Sunday.

"The School Games is such an amazing event," said the teenager, who trains at Bolton United Harriers. "It will be a fantastic way to end what has been a really successful year."

Hannah will go into the games full of confidence after recently winning 100m gold at the Northern Championships, equally the personal-best time of 12.16secs she set when winning the Greater Manchester County Championships title at the start of the season.

She is currently third in the UK rankings for 100m and 200m at under-17s and seems to be blossoming into an athlete with real potential.

Hannah started the year brightly with double gold at the Northern Indoor Championships, winning the 60m in 7.76 and the 200m in 25.15.

In the England Athletics National Indoor Championships, she finished sixth in the 60m in a time of 7.72 seconds, down on her pb of 7.63 in the semi- finals. The Bury schoolgirl then recorded a huge lifetime best of 24.50 in the semi-finals of the u17s women's 200m, but had to withdraw from the final with a foot injury.

Her first major outdoor championship of 2017 was the Greater Manchester Counties, where she followed up her victory and pb in the 100m with another gold in the 200m, which she won in 24.77.

Another 200m gold followed in the Greater Manchester County Schools event before Hannah chose to step up an age group and compete in the U20s National Championships. She was on top form and recorded yet another lifetime best of 24.25 in the 200m heats before finishing seventh in the final.

A 200m silver (24.56) followed in the English Schools Championships in Birmingham before the Bolton United Harrier secured bronze at the SIAB Schools International in Dublin in what was her second appearance in an England vest.

The teenager will now be hoping to take that form into the School Games and prove herself against the very best in Great Britain in front of the Team GB selectors, as well as the biggest crowd she will have run in front of to date.

“The School Games national finals provide a great opportunity for talented young athletes like Hannah,” says Ali Oliver, chief executive officer of the Youth Sport Trust.

“Competitors get a real taste of what it’s like to be part of a world-class sporting event at the amazing sporting venues of Loughborough University, and the event is a great way to see our future sporting champions in action today.”

Hannah will not be the only local athlete at the Games.

Cricketer Danielle Collins, who plays for Tottington St Johns first team and attends Bury College, earned her place at the Games following a successful year playing for Lancashire seconds and under-17s.

She said: “The Women’s World Cup really inspired me. I’d love to play at that level one day; in the meantime, I’m looking forward to taking on the competition at the School Games.”

Around 1,600 young sportsmen and women will compete across 12 sports at the Games, seven of which include disability disciplines.

The four-day event is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust.

Hannah will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of some of Britain’s biggest sporting stars who have competed at the School Games before going on to senior international success.

Previous competitors include Paralympic champions Hannah Cockroft, Ellie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock, Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty, as well as heptathlete Johnson-Thompson and GB sprinter Gemili.

Proof of the springboard the Games offer competitors is in the statistics: 56 of the 382 competitors representing Team GB at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio competed at the School Games.

As well as enjoying top-level competition, Hannah will experience life in a dedicated athletes village on the university campus, take part in an opening ceremony and get chance to attend masterclasses by the country's top athletes and athletics coaches.

Tickets for the event are available at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/2017schoolgames