Sussex Sports Personality of the Year Sebastian Rodger has earned a place representing England in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The 22-year-old hurdler from Eastbourne has excelled on the national level, taken home a silver medal in the European Under 23 Championships, and competed in the World Championships.
He’s no stranger to high-pressure situations, and feels racing in the 400m hurdles in the Commonwealth Games will be his biggest moment to date.
“I think this probably is my greatest achievement. In athletic terms it’s hard to top the World Championships, but the Commonwealth Games is really on par with the Olympics.
“It’s a multi-sport event and it’s a home Games, so there will still be that Olympic buzz around,” he said
Rodger didn’t start out as a 400m hurdler, having taken part in several sports growing up, including a stint at full-back for Eastbourne RFC. His athletics career took off as a decathlete, but he turned his full attention to hurdles in 2012.
The athlete then decided to relocate to Bath, where he runs for Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers. Having spent three weeks training in Spain earlier this year, Rodger is back on home soil working with the expert coaches available in Bath.
“It’s been an interesting year for me. I’ve moved up to Bath to train with world-renowned coach Malcolm Arnold and my main coach James Hillier. We’re training hard, but not too hard as we’re making sure we stay fresh.
“On the 27th and 28th of June we’re in Birmingham for the National Championships, which are the trials for the Europeans, so we’re making sure we’re ready for that as well.”
While Rodger will turn 23 on June 29, the day after competing in the Nationals, he’s focused on having something extra to celebrate that can rival his silver medal from the European Under 23 Championships.
“I was big outsider and it was my first championship as an individual runner. I grew as a person through every single round against experienced hurdlers. In the Nationals I need to finish in the top three, and I think I can win it.”
The Commonwealth Games begin on July 23 and the former St Bede’s student is excited to be in a squad alongside Olympic heroes like Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford. However, despite the elite class of athletes around him, he cites his family as his biggest motivation.
“My main driving force comes from my family. They’ve supported me through everything - even as far back as primary school. They’re the reason I’m doing this.”