A BASILDON Athletics Club member is set to compete in the 2018 School Games, which gets underway today.

Joseph Harding has been selected to be part of the athletics squad at the national multi-sport event for the country’s most talented school-age athletes.

The School Games is taking place at Loughborough University and Ali Oliver, the chief executive officer of the Youth Sport Trust, believes the 15-year-old should take the opportunity with both hands.

Oliver said: “The School Games National Finals provide a great opportunity for talented young athletes like Joseph.

“Competitors get a real taste of what it’s like to be part of a world-class sporting event at the amazing sporting venues of Loughborough University.

“The event is a great way to see our future sporting champions in action today.”

Joseph, who hails from Tilbury and is a pupil at the Stanford le Hope-based St Clere’s School, will compete for the England South squad in the 100m hurdles.

The teenager goes into the School Games will an already impressive record of success and has a personal best of 13.01 seconds in the 100m hurdles.

More than 1,400 athletes will compete across 11 sports at the School Games, five of which include disability disciplines.

This year, the School Games has introduced four new sports - canoeing and rowing, laser run, netball and triathlon.

The event will give many young people, across a variety of different sports, an experience of high-level competition in a multi-sport environment similar to an Olympic or Paralympic Games.

Joseph will be following in the footsteps of some of Britain’s biggest sporting stars who have competed at the event before going on to senior international success.

Previous competitors include Paralympic champions Hannah Cockroft, Ellie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock, Olympic champion Adam Peaty, heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson and sprinter Adam Gemili.