ONE OF the most promising athletes ever produced on the Isle of Wight, Henry McLuckie, has a huge opportunity for glory when he represents Great Britain in the men's 1,500m final at the European Athletics U20 Championships in Estonia this evening (Saturday).  

After what has been a momentous season on the track, the teenager was rewarded with his opportunity to compete for Great Britain at the high profile international event, in Tallinn.

The championships could not have got underway much better for Henry on Thursday, with the 19-year-old qualifying for the final by finishing second in the first round heats.

Henry comfortably clocked 3mins 50.89secs — 0.22 secs behind the winner, Poland's Filip Rak.

Isle of Wight County Press: Henry McLuckie after he qualified for the 1,500m final. Photo: Marko MummHenry McLuckie after he qualified for the 1,500m final. Photo: Marko Mumm

Henry told the County Press: "The heats went well. I stayed relaxed and focussed on getting in the top four to qualify for the final which, in doing so, has given me confidence heading into today’s final.

"I hope to win a medal, but irrespective of the result today, I am happy to make the final and representing Great Britain at these championships.

"I will attack it and do my best."

Currently standing at 147th in the European men’s rankings, Henry went into the championships having won the BMC Gold Standard Races in Birmingham, in April, and came second in the Manchester Invitational in May, with a PB of 3mins 40.82secs — both run over 1,500m.

At 5,000m, Henry also grabbed a 13.56.20 PB, to come fourth, in Battersea in March.

Isle of Wight County Press: Henry at the finish line in the 1,500m qualifying heats on Thursday. Photo: Marko MummHenry at the finish line in the 1,500m qualifying heats on Thursday. Photo: Marko Mumm

Those eye-catching performances saw Henry achieve the GB qualifying standards over both distances but, after his excellent performance in the recent British Olympic Trials, he was been chosen for the shorter distance.

Getting through the British Athletics selection criteria was a tough ask for the Islander, with qualifying standards required during a particular period of time, along with trials and race results in other big meetings against other top British athletes.

There are 28 Europeans in his event, which includes two of Henry’s Scottish team mates, who are both ranked highly on the European list.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Henry — a past pupil at Nine Acres Primary, Christ the King College and the Isle of Wight College and has just completed his first year of a sports science degree at St Mary’s University, Teddington, London — was delighted to have been selected for the championships on the back of his performance against top runners at the Olympic trials.

Before the championships, Henry said: “I am looking forward to competing at the U20s for the first time,” said Henry, who runs principally for the Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, and still holds membership of Ryde Harriers and the Isle of Wight Athletic Club.

“For me, racing in the Olympic Trials was all about gaining experience for the future. I was very happy to make the final and finish 12th in a race full of world class athletes.

Isle of Wight County Press:

“I have been focussing on the European Championships from the start of the season. All the experience I’ve gained, by running against top senior athletes over the past months, will help me greatly when racing in Estonia.”

Henry’s long-standing coach, Geoff Watkin, of Ryde, said Henry has come a long way, with potentially a bright future in athletics ahead of him at international level.

“To go away to represent GB in a major games will be a wonderful experience for Henry,” said Geoff.

“Many of our present Olympians have taken the same path in their progression into mature, senior internationals.”

The men's 1,500m final is at 4.35pm (GMT) — 6.35pm local time.

To follow Henry’s progress via the event website and, with live streaming on European Athletics TV (with English commentary) via