A TEENAGER from Hale has been called up to train with Great Britain’s water polo team and will train with the squad in the build up to the European Championships in four years’ time.
Fourteen-year-old Saul Blankstone is a pupil at Manchester Grammar (MGS) and credits the school with his success in the sport.
He said: “I had never heard of water polo until I joined MGS in the final year of junior school. I was quickly introduced to the sport and saw the successes the school has had in competitions and it immediately interested me.”
Saul now plays for four teams; his school’s, City of Manchester, North West and Great Britain.
He was one of just 35 boys chosen for Great Britain from a national pool of 85 players. His training is now geared towards securing a place on a GB team training camp this summer, He added: “Although long term my aim is to stay with the team and make the future European Championships, my immediate goal is to get to the training camp in Poland. Just 25 of us will be chosen to go and I really want to be there.”
Saul trains at least once a day in his sport using either the facilities at school or the Manchester Aquatics Centre.
He is joined in his sessions by fellow MGS pupil Ben Ticehurst from Stockport, who has also made the GB team.
“Training each day is tough and you have to be very dedicated but thankfully my parents and friends are supportive,” added Saul.
He is also studying for his IGCSEs at MGS and says that next year his focus is going to have to be as much on his exams as his sport.
Steven Walsh, who coaches aspiring water polo players at MGS, said: “I am obviously thrilled with the boys’ achievements and wish them every success in their training and competing with the GB team.
“We have a fantastic track record in this sport and Saul and Ben’s efforts are further testament to that.”