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Teen hopeful coached for 2016 games

PUBLISHED: 16:35 03 March 2010 | UPDATED: 11:32 23 August 2010

A BUDDING athlete has been selected to work with Britain s finest coaches as he bids to become an Olympian. John Allen, 15, has joined the GB World Class Talent Programme for the Modern Pentathlon, a multi-event competition featuring swimming, running, f

A BUDDING athlete has been selected to work with Britain's finest coaches as he bids to become an Olympian.

John Allen, 15, has joined the GB World Class Talent Programme for the Modern Pentathlon, a multi-event competition featuring swimming, running, fencing, shooting and equestrian.

The Gravesend Grammar student said: "I am aiming for the Olympics in Brazil in 2016. I have been given this opportunity and I really want to make it happen."

He has a gruelling training programme, spending hours every day developing each of his skills, as well as studying for his GCSEs.

Able to practice shooting and weights training for hours at home, John, of Calderwood, Gravesend, will put also in about 10 hours of swimming, five hours of running, four hours of fencing at a special centre in Reigate and two hours horse-back riding in Vigo every week.

The teenager added: "It does end up taking over your life but it is something you just accept."

As part of the programme he will meet up with his coaches for intensive sessions every weekend, near Bath hoping to progress to the World Class Development Programme and finally the Podium Programme.

He explained that he has been swimming competitively since he was nine, then after becoming interested in shooting through a friend before slowly beginning to take up each of the events.

"I really love the shooting, riding and the fencing - the skills based ones. Training for running and swimming can become very repetitive," he said.

Equestrian was the last addition and competing in riding for the first time as part of the British Youth Pentathlon Championships last year he managed to take fourth spot.

His mum Kerry Allen says she is happy to sacrifice her time to take him to training if it is what he wants to do.

She added: "He works really hard. It is a huge commitment but if he has the talent and wants to do this then you have to do what you can to help him.

"We are exceptionally proud.

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