Jun 17 2010 By Chris Slavin
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BRUNEL University student Emma Pallant graduates to the top class this Saturday when she makes her senior international debut for Great Britain in Bergen, Norway.
The 21-year-old's selection for the 3,000m event at the European Championships caps an impressive rise from the junior ranks in the same summer that she completes a physiotherapy degree at Uxbridge.
Pallant, who won a bronze medal at the World Junior Championships last summer, will be aiming for top honours when she joins a GB squad that includes World Championship medalists Phillips Idowu and Jenny Meadows.
The Aldershot Farnham & District athlete's elevation to the seniors comes earlier than expected for Pallant as she has battled back from a knee injury that sidelined her for six months.
“I was injured during the winter and only started back in January and I was thinking that if I could get fully fit again then I would be strong for the latter part of the season and maybe have a chance of making the Commonwealth Games.
“I did not expect to come into form so early. It is a real honour to be selected as I will be mixing it with some of the best athletes around. I will give them respect, but I want to give my best when I get out there.
“It is a massive leap for me, but you want to move up from the juniors as quickly as possible to get the experience.”
Pallant's early season form caught the eye of the GB selectors as she clocked 9:10.76 for the 3,000m and 15:55.18 for the 5,000m.
Pallant, who came fourth in the Gazette's Search for an Olympic hero competition in December, has been helped on her way by double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes.
Holmes has provided guidance for Pallant at her “On Camp with Kelly” mentoring and education initiative for talented young middle distance athletes.
Dame Kelly said: "I would like to congratulate Emma and her coach Mick Woods on her selection for the Aviva GB & NI Team for the European Team Championships. Competing at the European Team Championships will be a great experience for her and I am sure that she will perform well and learn a lot."