Promising multi-discipline athlete Sophie Pedlar has had her Olympic ambitions boosted by selection for an elite academy.
The 17-year-old has gained a place in the Elite Modern Pentathlon Academy at Hartpury College, near Gloucester.
There she will combine A-level studies with modern pentathlon training with British national coaches and under 19s internationals.
Sophie, from Eastwell, took part in her first competition with the Hartpury under 19s girls’ team who won gold at the National Pentathlon GB Modern Tetrathlon Championships.
The event marked a step up to the full Olympic distance from the shorter under 17s equivalent, competing in a 200m swim, epee fencing, and a combined 3,200m run with shooting at four sets of laser pistol targets.
“I am loving being able to combine my A-level studies with professional athlete training and support at Hartpury,” Sophie said.
“To win a gold medal with the team so soon has been a great start.
“To have access every day to British technical skills coaching in all the five phases, plus strength and conditioning sessions, physio, nutrition and sports psychology support is really helping me develop.
“Being able to train alongside the top under 19s in the country is also good as it gets pretty competitive which helps us all and is great fun.”
Sophie enjoyed a successful summer which included earning selection for the winning England team at The Pony Club British Championships.
She was a Melton Times Junior Sports Personality of the Year finalist this year, and will continue to train with Melton Swimming Club and at the Waterfield gym during school holidays.
She added: “I’m still very grateful for the support I receive as a LRS GO-GOLD athlete, from Everyone Active, and from the Leicestershire Lieutenancy Award which gave me fencing kit to enable me to compete at a national level.“