Glen Quayle believes a Stateside scholarship will catapult his pole vault journey to new heights as the Manx athlete targets a place at next year’s Commonwealth Games.
The 19-year-old, who grew up in Baldrine before moving to Loughborough three years ago, is heading to Northern State University in South Dakota in August to combine his training with studying graphic design.
Obtaining the scholarship has been Quayle’s focus through the latest lockdown and with a place now secured, he is relishing the opportunities that lie in wait.
“I want to see new parts of the world and do as many things as I can,” he said.
“I did have an offer from Loughborough Uni – I’m on my gap year at the moment – but I deferred it while I decided what was happening with America and it’s all worked out now.
“One of the main reasons I wanted to go there was how well they balance your commitments.
“You decide what times you want to study and it’s fitted in around your training, so it doesn’t clash.
“I’m looking forward to competing in the NCAA in America – and the Commonwealth Games is a big aim for next year.
“It’s a really good opportunity, especially being in Birmingham, and I am so proud to be from the Isle of Man.
“It’s rare you get to compete for them – for a lot of events it comes under Great Britain – so it would be nice to represent the island itself.”
Quayle’s sporting journey began within gymnastics but the intensity of the training workload soon took its toll.
Having seen his siblings enjoying athletics, the former Ramsey Grammar School pupil decided to give it a go and soon discovered an aptitude for pole vault which was a key factor behind him leaving home aged 16.
“I wasn’t nervous or anything, I knew that was best for me and my parents were fully supportive as they want me to do what makes me happy,” he said.
“It’s only looking back now I realise it was kind of a big move – but I’m glad I did it.
“In terms of coaching and facilities, Loughborough is the best place to be – especially now we have Holly Bradshaw here. It has become a hotspot for British pole vault.
“There’s a really good group here and I’ve learned so much from being around this quality of pole vaulters and coaches.”
British record holder Bradshaw is among those who have benefited from SportsAid programmes in the past and Quayle’s ambitions are now being supported by a partnership between the charity and Entain – owners of Ladbrokes and Coral.
The initiative will provide vital funding for training, travel, equipment and access to mentoring and the former Ramsey Grammar School pupil is delighted to be a part of it.
“With maintenance of poles, pole rental and trying to travel with poles, it all adds up,” he said.
“I’m also living away from home, which can be expensive, so this funding will be really useful.”