Who is Reece Prescod? Meet Team GB’s newest athletics star aiming for gold at the European Championships 2018

The 100m sprinter is set to be one of Team GB's best new hopes in Berlin during the European Athletics Championships

Team GB sprinter Reece Prescod celebrates winning the men's 100m Final during the 2018 British Athletics Championships (Getty)

Team GB sprinter Reece Prescod set himself three targets for 2018.

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First, he wanted to establish himself as a genuine global competitor, to “start racing properly on the Diamond League circuit”.

Second, he wanted to run the 100m in a sub-10-second time for the first time in his short career. Third, he wanted to win the European Championships title.

And how is he doing?

“So far, so good,” said Prescod, who has been tipped to beat Linford Christie’s national record of 9.87 seconds as his career progresses. Prescod, 22, was not even born when Christie ran his best time at the 1993 World Championships.

Prescod, a 6ft 4in Londoner, is Britain’s best 100 metres prospect in years. If he caused a stir in Britain by winning the GB Trials last year he did the same at a global level in May when he won the Shanghai Diamond League race, with world champion Justin Gatlin in his wake.

Reece Prescod celebrates after winning the men's 100m in the IAAF Diamond League Shanghai athletics competition 2018 (Getty)
Reece Prescod celebrates after winning the men’s 100m in the IAAF Diamond League Shanghai athletics competition 2018 (Getty)

That race, in the rain, helped him to achieve his main aim for the year, and his next outing in Eugene, Oregon, gave him a further boost. In finishing third he ran 9.88 seconds, though the wind was too strong for it to count in the record books.

He also retained his British title. Asked which race gave him most satisfaction, Prescod said, “Probably the British trials, retaining my title. But then again maybe the first time when I won it and it was a bit of a surprise (2017). Those were my big two races, the surprise and the back-up.”

He says his “pivotal moment” came in 2016 when he thought he was going to be a 200m runner but, in only his second try at 100m, ran 10.06 seconds.

“I thought, ‘Wow! That’s a world class time,’ and from then on I was a 100m runner.”

His best chance of an international title comes in Berlin on Tuesday 7th August, in the European Championships.

Prescod was born in Walthamstow, studied in Loughton at “a very sporty school” and tried many other sports – football, basketball, swimming, golf and his dad’s favourite, tennis – but he knew from the age of 14 that sprinting was the one for him.

He kept at it, and earned a Nike sponsorship, despite a long run of injuries during his growth years that might have stymied a lesser athlete. He says the setbacks made him mentally stronger.

“People progress in different ways,” he said. “It’s not linear.

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“I’ve run about 70 races, some of the others have run three times as many, but it just makes me think I have a lot more to give.”

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