Dartford hammer thrower Kai Barham has set his sights on the 2028 Olympics after landing a top scholarship in America.
Barham, who turned 18 last week, is set to move to the States next summer to start a four-year stint at the University of California, Berkeley.
He will train under leading hammer coach Mo Saatara, with the aim of reaching the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.
The teenager, who is in his final year as a sixth-former at Dartford Grammar School, will also read two degrees - likely to be English and economics or physics.
“At the end of the four years I want to be competing at the 2028 Olympics in LA,” said Barham, whose personal best is 70.58m.
“There’s steps to get there. Next year I have the Under-20 World Championships in Peru and the goal there is to get a medal and go close to the British record.
“The year after I’ll start competing for Berkeley, then there’s the senior World Championships in 2027 and the Olympics in 2028.
“Hopefully I’ll get there. I can’t guarantee I’ll be the biggest or the strongest, because that’s down to genetics, but I can guarantee I’ll be the hardest-working.
“I’ve always pushed myself to the absolute limit, physically and mentally, and I don’t intend to stop any time soon.”
Barham, a member of Dartford Harriers, has come a long way since his school’s PE department encouraged him to take up the sport aged 12.
Within two years he was the national No.1 and he’s dominated the youth rankings ever since, with Kent Athletics and his UK coach Paul Head also playing major roles in his development.
Barham’s progress attracted interest from US universities who can offer the funding and facilities simply not available in Britain.
“When I started back in 2018, I never thought I’d get to this point,” said Barham.
“It’s really humbling, to be honest. I don’t see myself in the same light as the universities see me.
“The value of the scholarship is more than I’d get in 50 years of funding from British Athletics.
“It’s two completely different worlds. They pay my tuition fees, so I won’t have to deal with that, and I get funding for accommodation and food and health insurance - life expenses outside of tuition fees.
“For me, it was a pretty straightforward choice to go because athletics is my main passion.
“It’s the thing that gets me up in the morning and motivates me in day-to-day life.
“I just love it so much and I really want to make a career out of it. The harder choice was which university to go to.
“I wouldn’t have got into the sport without my school.
“There’s a lot of people I owe my career to.
“It couldn’t have happened without a host of people and that number will only increase.
“I have to give a shout-out to Paul Head, my current UK coach.
“He’s taken me from throwing 30m with a 3kg hammer to 70m with a 6kg hammer. He’s been the most important person in my career.”