Watts looking to light a path towards European outing this summer
RISING sprinter Sam Watts insists he is looking towards mixing it with the best athletes on the continent this summer - and is enlisting some Olympians to help.
The 20-year-old has begun the outdoor season in style, winning a 200m invitational race at the BUCS Championships at the Olympic Stadium this month, his time of 21.16seconds just 0.06 off his personal best.
That was only Watts' third race of the outdoor season and, having gone on to win the Essex County 100m title, he has trained his sights on the senior European Championships in Helsinki this summer.
And after spending some time training with British regulars Dwain Chambers and Marlon Devonish, he is optimistic about his chances.
"I have been hitting personal bests in training and we are not even in full swing yet but then again running them when it matters is a different thing," he said.
"But I'm feeling positive because generally I have always run faster when I have been racing than when I have been training
"I thought I would be much more average than I have been, my 100m has got so much better. I'm known for being a pretty awful 100m sprinter but I was making finals last year.
"I used to be a very nervous runner but I have spent too much of my career worried and not sleeping so I try not to think about too much anymore.
"I have been working with Dwain and Marlon so I'm hoping a bit of input from them and I should be improving my start especially. If I can hang on to them racing in training then I should be looking good."
Watts' European Championship bid has been boosted by the confirmation that he will be one of just 8,000 people to carry the London 2012 Torch courtesy of Lloyds TSB.
And Watts - who will run with the Flame through Bishop's Stortford on July 7 - could barely hide his delight at the selection.
"I was so pleased because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity," he added. "You train so hard to be the best you can be in your sport but to be recognised in this way for what I do with my sport is a dream come true in that respect.
"There are a little bit of nerves but I'm just quite excited to do it. I'm not sure what to expect or what is going to happen afterwards.
"But it 100 per-cent feels like my hard work has paid off in a sense because I wasn't expecting it as there are so many other athletes out there."
As the only National Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Lloyds TSB is bringing the excitement of the Games and Olympic Flame closer to you. Find out what we're doing in your community and who is carrying the Flame at lloydstsb.com/carrytheflame
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