ENGLAND hockey star Phil Roper has set his sights on making the British team for the London Olympics in 2012.
The 16-year-old from Hoole has just returned from The Hague in Holland, where he and his England under 16s team-mates finished a disappointing fifth in the European Championships.
But the Upton High School student has not been deterred and will make a bid to join England’s U18 ranks in October.
“We expected to medal at The Hague,” said Roper. “We had a strong squad but after winning one and drawing one in our group, we lost our final game, leaving us to fight for fifth.
“We got it but now it is time for me to move up a level.”
The Chester Hockey Club player is not short of ambition – or talent.
He won through the selection stages of last autumn’s regional tournament, where representative teams from the North, Midlands, East and West battled it out under the watchful eyes of the England selectors.
Roper was picked out and has been competing for England all year, but his passage into the U18s set-up will be more difficult.
“I am at the younger end of the scale,” he said. “I have been told that the physical differences may make it more difficult for me to earn a selection.
“But I am working on bulking up to become more of a high-impact player all the time.
“I live near Chester Hockey Club and am down there a lot in my spare time working on things. I believe I could get in.”
Roper will complete his A-levels at Upton and, in two years, hopes to go to Loughborough University to lay the groundwork for a Team GB selection in 2012.
“I want to play at the London Olympics, that is my goal,” he said.
“But I have to do the right things short term to make my long term aims achievable. My first target is the regionals in October and to get into the U18s.”