Ambitious sprint hurdler King keen to build on quality 2012
DAVID KING reckons he is as close to a hurdler's heaven as it is possible to get and the ambitious city-born sprinter is determined not to fall from grace.
The City of Plymouth Athletics Club 110m (outdoors) and 60m hurdles (indoor) specialist has embarked on a sports performance degree at the University of Bath.
King has taken with him a CV boasting a ranking of fourth-best under-20 sprint hurdler in the UK with the exciting teenage talent bursting with enthusiasm to become Britain's number one.
And you would not bet against the 18-year-old achieving that in 2013, particularly after the year King has just enjoyed.
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The former Devonport High School for Boys student won a senior 110m hurdles silver medal at the English Schools Championships in July in addition to a bronze at the England under-20 championships.
He then climbed to the top of the podium at the South West Inter-Counties Championships in Exeter, winning the 110m hurdles and the 200m for good measure at the Arena.
King's 110m hurdles time of 14.04 seconds was just outside his personal best over the distance of 14.03secs.
Indoors his 60m hurdles time is a blindingly-fast 7.92secs, just an eye-blink away from Bath uni undergraduate, friend and track rival James Gladman's 7.65secs, which is his next target over the winter.
King is looking to succeed Gladman, who is moving up an age category, at under-20 over the next 12 months and also book himself a place at the European Junior Indoor Championships, in Italy, next summer.
His proud mentor and coach at Plymouth AC, Steve Endacott, has certainly packed off his young charge in top order and condition and King is not looking to let anyone down, least of all himself.
King will not be wanting for inspiration as he is coached by former international hurdler James Hillier at Team Bath, with formidable track trio Dai Green, Lawrence Clarke and Andrew Pozzi frequent co-trainers.
Colin Jackson's former coach, the esteemed Malcolm Arnold, while not directly involved with King, is also at Team Bath, so if you ever wanted to look good at what you do, then the Plymothian is in the right place at the right time.
And, although combining academia with sporting prowess is tough, King realises what an opportunity he has, and is counting his blessings.
He said: "I'm in a very fortunate and privileged position to be training with fantastic élite coaches and athletes, and at a venue which has such great facilities.
"I know I've got to put in the hard yards and hard work to make certain I stay in the group.
"For example, my coach James Hillier was an international 400 hurdler himself not so long ago and knows what it takes to reach the top.
"But at Team Bath it's a given that you will keep to the programme that's set for you and within the time-frame that the coaches insist upon.
"There's no excuse accepted for coming in a couple of minutes' late, for example, while the dietary programme also has to be strictly adhered to.
"And, that's what coach wants from me and the others in the training group, and to be honest, it's what I signed up for. I want to go as far as I can in athletics.
"I have to put in the hours, but given I can train with and watch athletes of the proven hurdling ability of Dai Green, Lawrence Clark and Andrew Pozzi, I'm not lacking for inspiration.
"I still hope to compete for Plymouth and Devon whenever I can and also look at internationals in Germany and Belgium, as well as the junior Euros in Italy. I shall be disappointed if I don't achieve most of what I'm training for."