MIDDLE distance runner Richard Peters is out to prove he belongs at the highest level when he makes his senior international debut at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow tomorrow (Friday).
The 24-year-old, who grew up in Yate and is currently doing a five-year scholarship at Boston University in the United States, is relishing the chance to represent England in the 1500m with the heats getting underway shortly after 6.20pm at Hampden Park.
“It’s a big moment for me to get the opportunity to do this. It’s the best place to do it,” he told the Gazette from his base in Glasgow.
“The support has been unbelievable. When they announced England in the opening ceremony I’ve never heard noise like that so it feels like a home Games even though it’s not really.
“The race itself will spur me onto a better performance just by being here and having that support.
“It’s always an honour to be called up for your country and I want to do my country proud. It’s a big moment for any sportsman.
“I want to prove that I belong at this level and hopefully on Friday I’ll make a lot of people proud and get through to the final.”
Peters, who is sixth in the British 1500m rankings this year with a time of 3:38.83, completed his preparations for Glasgow 2014 by retaining his BMC Mile title at Oxford but has since been struggling with Achilles tendinitis.
He has been receiving treatment while staying in the Athletes’ Village and insists it will not stop him from giving it everything in an attempt to reach Saturday’s final.
He said: “I’ve got an Achilles issue but I’ve been getting the best treatment available from the medical team here.
“Regardless of how I feel I will go out there to do my best. I might not feel great after but it’s a long time until I compete again so it’s just a case of getting on the start line and getting my mind in the right place.
“I have to treat it as the final. To get in the top three is my sole aim and to get into the final.
“You never know what could happen in 1500m. I could potentially do very well but right now I just want to get to the final.
“It’s very exciting right now, especially watching the other athletics, but there is a bit of nervousness there. It’s going to be hard to get through.”
Peters travelled up to Glasgow last week to be involved in the opening ceremony and says the whole experience has fuelled his desire to reach the Rio 2016 Olympics.
He said: “So far it’s been incredible being in the Athletes’ Village. The opening ceremony was unbelievable.
“In the long-term the whole experience, with the Olympics coming up in two years, makes me a little more motivated.
“The village caters to everyone’s needs so I’m having fun but at the same time being serious because my ultimate goal is to perform well on the day.”