PROUD dad Richard Pearce told his son to chase his dream and the advice has been rewarded – with a London 2012 call-up.

Poole-born John Pearce is set to realise his Olympic ambition after being picked to represent Team GB in the sport of handball at the Games.

John, a left winger, was raised in Bournemouth and captained the rugby team during his time at Bryanston School.

A keen sportsman and former county rugby and cricket player, the 24-year-old went to Loughborough University before getting his big sporting chance after attending a talent identification trial in Sheffield.

After vying for selection alongside around 5,000 other hopefuls, the Dorset lad made the grade in handball.

Together with fellow Team GB squad man Dan McMillan from Sway, who is a former semi-professional American Football player, John will now be hoping to feature when Britain open their campaign at the Copper Box arena against defending champions France.

John’s father Richard told the Daily Echo: “We had a long discussion about it before he pulled out of university and I said you have got to chase your dreams.

“I’m as proud as punch and I can’t wait for the Olympics because I am a sportsman myself and I think it is brilliant for kids to play sport. I used to be a PE teacher and sport teaches people so many things.”

Sports fan Richard, who played rugby for Birmingham club Moseley has tickets to watch his son at the Games.

Handball, a minority sport in this country, is hugely popular on the continent and in South America. It is a high-scoring team sport in which two sides of seven players (six outfield and a goalkeeper) pass a ball to throw into the opposition’s goal.