TEENAGE Javelin prospect Thomas Holmes is targeting continued progress as he looks to make up for lost time and do battle with his continental rivals.

Holmes was unable to train at the start of this year due to lockdown measures but is getting back towards the distances he knows he is capable of, having recorded a 64.69m personal best at Lee Valley last August.

The 18-year-old’s big goal for this year is a place at the European U20 Championship in July and though that will require a sizeable improvement, Holmes is confident he has it in him – and is still looking at the bigger picture.

“I need to throw 70m to make the Europeans so it might be a bit of a stretch, but I’m trying to work up to that gradually and I think it’s achievable,” he said.

“It has been difficult with the lockdowns. It takes a long time to get your technique refined and usually we have a whole winter to throw light, then put power on it in the summer.

“This year, lockdown ended and I had three weeks until my first competition so I had to make my technique better but also throw hard to do well.

“It’s been hard to do both and it has been quite rushed but I’m improving all the time and want to keep doing so.”

The Marlborough youngster has been on an upward trajectory since being spotted by coach Mark Bradford at U13 level, becoming part of a talented training group at Andover AC he remains among.

Holmes overcame a serious injury setback four years later and is now hoping to follow in the footsteps of former training partner Tom Hewson, who has smashed through the 70m barrier in each of the past two summers.

“Tom has done a lot of the things I’d like to do so he has given me that path to follow,” said Holmes, who hopes to join Hewson – two years his senior – at Loughborough University next year having recently completed his A-levels at St John’s Marlborough.

“I was injured for about a year at U17s and had plenty of physio on my shoulder, which was out of position. But I won the nationals that year having only had four weeks to start throwing again, which gave me real confidence.

“My shoulder has been fine since and while it was frustrating at the time, it taught me to listen to my body. Now I just need to keep working hard on my technique and trying to stay injury free.”