Ashbourne tennis starlet Victoria Allen admits she has to pinch herself in amazement at the thought of representing Team GB.
Allen has had much to contend with this year, including a chest infection that forced her to miss three weeks of training, her GCSE exams and stepping up a level into higher age groups of competition.
But despite all this the 14-year-old hasn’t let that get in the way of success, winning two Grade 3 under-18 tournaments at Easter before reaching the final of the under-16s competition at Queenswood Clay Courts.
And these successes caught the attention of Team GB who selected Allen on the 44-strong team for the European Youth Olympic Festival which gets underway in Tbilisi on Sunday – leaving the Church Broughton Tennis Centre ace almost lost for words.
“I was really happy to be find out I had been selected by Team GB, it was amazing when I heard about it and I am thankful the LTA put my name forward,” said Allen, who is joined on the team by fellow tennis players Jacob Fearnley, Emile Hudd and Nell Miller.
“Playing in a European Youth Olympic Festival is a very big thing and I was really pleased when I heard I would be going.
“It was a bit of a surprise because I didn’t know there was a European Youth Olympic Festival at this time so it was a shock but I am really grateful.
“I have played for Great Britain a couple of times before in European Winter Cups in Sweden in February and they were really good experiences.
“But playing in a European Youth Olympic Festival will be even better and I can’t wait to get out there now.”
Allen doesn’t have to look far for inspiration when it comes to British tennis these days, the teenager glued to the TV as Andy Murray reached another Wimbledon semi-final.
And she is adamant her Tbilisi adventure is just the start of what she hopes will be a long and successful professional career.
“I really want to become a professional tennis player in the future and being selected for the European Youth Olympic Festival shows me I am heading in the right direction,” Allen added.
“Hopefully in the future I can play in some junior Grand Slams and build on that in the next couple of years and see where I go – it is exciting.”
© Sportsbeat 2015