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Introducing Heroes: reynolds, potter & mcgrath

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Jordan McGrath
2008 project winner McGrath

6 June 2009

Jack of all trades Ben Reynolds insists he can become a master of one this season after being selected on the 2009 UK Athletics Heroes scheme, sponsored by Original Source.

Northern Irish athlete Reynolds burst onto the scene as a talented heptathlete but will only compete in the 110m hurdles this summer after dislocating his shoulder six times in 2008.

And despite the heptathlon setback the 18-year-old – who hails from the same school as golf sensation Rory McIlroy – insists a medal-strewn summer beckons in the hurdles.

“I’m only competing in the hurdles this season as I’m waiting for an operation on my shoulder in August and can’t risk multiple events,” said Reynolds.

“The season has started well and in winning the Irish Schools again I set a new PB of 13.97.

“To set a new PB was great but I wasn’t happy with the way I ran – it was perfect conditions to record a fast time but I hit the last hurdle hard and stumbled the last 15ms across the line.  I only just managed to stay on my feet so I know I can shave a lot off that as well.”

Meanwhile, Birchfield Harrier Jordan McGrath admits his hopes of winning the European Junior Championship are hanging by a thread after he tore his hamstring at the McCain Loughborough International.

The 400m runner was billed as one of Britain’s strongest medal contenders at the event in Serbia but the 19-year-old now faces a race against time to prove his fitness.

“The main aim for this season was to go and win the European Juniors but the injury has been a huge setback,” said McGrath.

 “2012 is creeping up all of the time and these big events are all important so hopefully I will be fully fit and ready to go for a medal.”

While McGrath’s dreams of European glory hang in the balance - Beth Potter’s selection was the icing on the cake of an eventful few weeks.

The City of Glasgow AC athlete achieved the qualifying time for the Serbian games with a personal best 3000m time at the Loughborough International meeting on May 17.

And two weeks later she was one of 15 athletes unveiled at the Bedford International Games that would be joining the Heroes Project after being handpicked by UK Athletics’ Performance team after demonstrating considerable ‘potential’.

Potter, Reynolds and McGrath will receive two £500 bursaries towards kit, travel expenses, medical support and equipment during the summer, while one of the 15 newly-appointed Heroes will bank a further £1000 should they be selected as the winning Hero by UK Athletics.

Potter said: “It’s a great help with money at a time when we are all looking to push our careers to the next level.

“Getting the qualifying time last week was a real relief because it takes the pressure off a little bit.

“The European Juniors is the big target for me this summer and it’s great that I’ve already got the qualifying time.”