A MEDAL may have eluded Remi Adebiyi on his Great Britain debut at the European U20 Championships but the teenager was far from downhearted after a “surreal" experience.

The 18-year-old Newport Harriers ace could only finish 12th in the men’s 3000m steeplechase in Boras, Sweden, despite reaching the final as the fourth fastest qualifier.

However, Adebiyi feels he benefitted greatly from the experience and there is plenty to be positive about going forward, with this his last season competing in the under-20 age group.

“It was surreal,” said Adebiyi of his Team GB bow. “It was really good being around everyone in the team, the atmosphere was great.

“Everyone supported each other, and I couldn’t have asked for better preparation for my races.

“I was really comfortable during my heat, I just wasn’t able to repeat that in the final.

“It doesn’t really diminish what I have achieved. Everything is part of the plan for going into the seniors and getting where I need to be if I want to be at my best.”

On his heat and final, he added: “The heat was perfect, I did everything I had to do, and I had a lot of energy left at the end.

“The final quite a tough race, but it wasn’t too dissimilar to my heat. I looked at my split times for each kilometre and there wasn’t much difference.

“If my heat had been the final then I would have been right up there.

“Running two races in three days at a major championships was a new experience for me, and the heat must have taken a bit out of me for the final.

“The pace picked up with a kilometre to go, just like it had in the heat, and I couldn’t go with it.

“It was a bit disappointing, but it’s all part of the learning process.

“I have to continue working hard and maybe condition my training for situations like that where I’m racing once and then again a few days later.”

Providing he gets the A-level exam results he needs, Adebiyi will be off to study maths at Bath University this autumn.

Before then, the youngster is eyeing up a new 1500m personal best in Manchester on August 10, while there are other big events in his sights in the short and long term.

“I’m going to the BMC Grand Prix in Manchester on August 10 where I’ll be looking for a new 1500m personal best,” he said.

“It will be the start of the cross-country season in October and the European Championships trials in Liverpool in November.

“There won’t be too much pressure on me next year, so I’ll just see how I perform with university and athletics. It’s the European U23s in two years so that’s my next big aim.

“The steeplechase gave me an opportunity to compete for Great Britain for the first time, but the plan is to probably focus on the 1500m.”

* Ieuan Thomas, Caitlyn Mapps and Gabrielle Fakande are among those competing in Cardiff tonight when Wales, Welsh Schools, the three English regions, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Guernsey contest the Welsh Athletics U20 International.

Pontypool’s Welsh champion Ieuan Thomas goes in the 3000m steeplechase, Blackwood sprinter Mapps is entered in the 100m and Cwmbran’s Fakande runs in the 200m.