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'I'll Tri so hard for Olympic glory'

PUBLISHED: 14:40 22 June 2007 | UPDATED: 14:34 07 September 2010

Fifteen-year-old Max Hayhurst is celebrating after being given £1,000 to splash on a new bike. The only catch is has to lace up his sneakers more often and hit the pavements running. The reason: Hayhurst is being tipped as a potential

By Jonny Weeks

Fifteen-year-old Max Hayhurst is celebrating after being given £1,000 to splash on a new bike.

The only catch is has to lace up his sneakers more often and hit the pavements running.

The reason: Hayhurst is being tipped as a potential Olympic triathlon champion for 2016 and, by offering him a scholarship to buy better equipment, Believe To Achieve With Kelly [Holmes] hope that his talents will flourish.

"I'm very happy," said the Hampstead resident. "I went to a training camp for elite young triathletes at Loughborough University last month but I didn't know there were scholarships on offer.

"Then they wrote to me and asked me to apply for the scholarship, but I never thought I'd get one.

"The money will probably pay for about half a bike, so my dad is going to help me with the rest."

Hayhurst (pictured) has long been a talented swimmer for Camden Swiss Cottage, but only became involved in the burgeoning multi-discipline sport of triathlon three years ago. While he clearly impressed the coaches at Loughborough, he jokingly says that he was more than unimpressed at the rigorous early-morning regime they enforced.

"They made us get out of bed and train before breakfast," he said. "One morning it was a one-hour swim and another time it was a half-hour run. It was tough."

Hayhurst was thrilled to receive tips from double Olympic gold medallist Kelly Holmes during the camp.

"Meeting people like her was phenomenal," he said. "They've been there and done exactly what I want to do. I'd love to achieve that in my career.

"The only downside was she gave me an arm wrestle and she won. But her arms are huge."

Just seven days after the camp and still riding his old bike, Hayhurst finished 11th in his age-group at the biggest triathlon race of the season so far, the National Trials at Blenheim Palace.

He then came first in his age-group at the Dover meet of the London Youth Triathlon Series.

Now he is looking forward to buying a new bike and increasing his training to help boost his chances in the Inter-Regional Championships in September.

"Running is definitely my weakest element and swimming my strongest," he said.

"My mum was a runner, but I need to do a lot more practice on it."

Indeed, he'll have to because that's one of the conditions of the scholarship.

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