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Cambridge & Coleridge Athletic Club’s Tom Keen from West Wickham to make Great Britain senior debut at World Athletics Cross Country Championships

Tom Keen is excited at the prospect of making his debut on the global stage this weekend.

While the runner based in West Wickham, near Haverhill, has represented Great Britain as a youngster, his call-up for the World Athletics Cross Country Championships, which will take place in Belgrade in Serbia on Saturday, is the first time that he has been selected at senior level.

And the 22-year-old Cambridge & Coleridge Athletic Club member is looking forward to the opportunity of pitting himself against some established names in his chosen sport.

Tom Keen is looking forward to making his senior Great Britain debut in Belgrade Picture: Keith Heppell
Tom Keen is looking forward to making his senior Great Britain debut in Belgrade Picture: Keith Heppell

He said: “It’s nice to see that my recent performances and progression has been recognised.

“I’ve competed for Britain as a junior and when I was a student at university, but for two or three years I haven’t had much interest shown.

“This is the first time I’ll be wearing a senior vest and I’m really excited by it.

“It was great to do it as a junior and that was always a proud moment, but to be in such a competitive environment on the world stage, that’s a big thing.

“It’s going to be a big step up. Some of the athletes will have 10 years on me in terms of experience.”

The former Linton Village College pupil attributes much of his recent development to being able to commit himself fully to the sport.

Keen graduated from the University of Birmingham last summer, leaving him free to attend training camps and clock up further miles out on the track or road.

“I’m really pleased with the shape I’m in. I had a pretty good winter with some altitude training and training camps,” he added.

“I enjoyed Christmas but I definitely took everything in terms of training and lifestyle more seriously around then.

“After leaving university I wanted to be a serious athlete.

“I’ve spent the last six months training like a full-time athlete.

“I’ve taken things to another level of professionalism and I feel like that has started to show.

“I’m pleased with the decisions I’ve made.

“I’m clocking up some good mileage and I’ve had good consistency since September.”

In Belgrade, Keen will be part of Great Britain’s senior mixed relay quartet alongside Adam Fogg, Alex Millard and Bethan Morley.

And Keen sees no reason why he cannot return home with a medal.

“I think as a team we’ll be looking at the medals,” he said.

“It’s a young team, but a strong team with some good experience in it.

“I don’t know which leg I’ll be on yet but I’ve just got to make sure I produce a solid race and give it everything I’ve got.

“It’s a big step up in terms of the quality of the field but I’m confident I will be competitive.”