The dream is becoming a reality for athletics star Jess Hopkins as she earns her place in the England squad.
The 14 year old pentathlete’s growing success finds her placed 20th in the British Athletics list of all-time greats at that age – with her idol Jessica Ennis-Hill placed only 68th.
The England call up comes after Jess came second in the National Combined Events Championships in Exeter as part of the winning Essex squad – despite scoring her personal best in one event and finishing just 40 points off the number one spot.
The student from Maltings Academy, Witham Essex, will now represent England at an international event in Ireland in December.
Jess, who gave up her school summer break to train for the recent competition, said: “I was hoping for this result, but not necessarily expecting it. Going into the event, I was ranked fourth in the country so I thought I would come fourth if I had a good day. I thought I would really have to pull something out the bag.
“The high jump, shot put and long jump didn’t go as well as I had hoped; I was hoping for more personal bests that day, but I only got the one.
“In the weeks leading up to the competition, I had done lots of training, every day of the week. Some days we did running which really paid off as I took five seconds off my time in the 800m.”
While the 800m race is Jess’ least favourite event, after devoting much of her summer training to improving, this was the event she recorded her personal best at in Exeter.
The young star got a medal, a certificate and her place on the England team as a result of her performance, along with only the top four performing girls on the day.
She said: “I’m still on such a high from the weekend, I’ve not really thought about my expectations for Ireland yet. I just can’t believe I did it!
“I am going to Ireland to represent England; it’s just incredible.”
The reality of being leaps and bounds ahead of where Olympics medallist Ennis-Hill was at her age – as recorded in the Power of 10 under-15 women’s all-time UK records list - has stunned Jess.
She said: “I was looking at the list last night and was shocked! It makes me realise I have the potential to be where Jessica Ennis-Hill is. I could actually do what she is doing and be like her. It’s an amazing feeling, especially after all the hard work and disappointments; it makes everything a lot better. After the 800m race, my coach said it was another day to remember when I have bad days.
“I’m really looking forward to next year when I can add in javelin in the under-17 category as that’s my best event. Then I can really start to compare myself to other athletes.”