England’s top junior over 1500m and 3000m steeplechase – Stockport’s Aimee Pratt – is targeting an Olympic debut in Tokyo after her talents were rewarded with a five-year American scholarship.
Pratt, 17, will study biology at Adams State University (ASU) in Colorado while furthering her blossoming athletics career in which she has already won both the English Championship and the English School Championship.
Pratt (main picture, middle) praised the influence of the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation (DMSF) – a charity set up by former British Olympic athlete Diane Modahl to give young people across Greater Manchester access to world class coaching and coaches – as she prepares for her biggest adventure yet.
“My ambition now is the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, which I only ever believed was possible after I started training with the DMSF,” said Pratt.
“I can’t thank the team at DMSF enough, especially my coach Vicente (Modahl) for turning this into a real goal.
“I’m still in a bit of shock. But I’m really looking forward to it because I can put all my focus now into both my education and training. I’m going to be training with a big group – and as I won’t be the best as I train with older athletes, it’s just what I need as everyone will push me to my limit.”
Modahl, Diane’s husband, was brimming with pride at the news.
“It’s a wonderful end to this particular chapter of her no doubt long and fruitful sporting career,” he said.
The youthful Pratt is now looking forward to acclimatising to a new environment, with some of the USA’s finest wilderness in the Rocky Mountains not far away.
“I don’t know much about Colorado … but I have Googled it! I’ve not started packing yet as I have no idea what to take! Although I do have one set of clothes on top of my suitcase – my DMSF training kit – it’s where this dream began.
“The hardest thing is the distance as I’ll be away from family and friends and I’m really going to miss them. I can’t just pop home for dinner now, but they’re all so very proud of me which helps me understand this is a fantastic opportunity I can’t afford to miss.
“My friends have said they’d love to come and visit – but we’ll see … you can’t get to Colorado on the 203 bus!”