Abi Pawlett is relishing the prospect of taking on the best young athletes in the world this summer as she looks to follow in the footsteps of her heptathlon heroes.

A superb performance at the England Athletics Combined Events Championship in May saw the 18-year-old hit the qualifying standard for both the European and World Under-20 Championships, which take place in July and August respectively.

The competitions will see the Chester ace don a Great Britain vest for the first time while she is also set to compete in the 100m hurdles at this weekend’s Muller British Athletics Championships.

Having just finished her A-levels at Tarporley High School, the summer is set to be an exciting one for Pawlett and she can’t wait to show wider audiences what she is capable of.

“They [European and World Under-20s] are definitely the biggest competitions I’ll have competed in so far,” said Pawlett, whose sporting ambitions are supported by an innovative partnership between SportsAid and Wall’s Pastry.

“The European standard was 5,400 points and in the week leading up to Combined Events, I was sat in my room wondering if I was even going to make that.

“I wasn’t even thinking about qualifying for the Worlds but after day one, I was 100 points ahead of my target and everything went better than planned.

HeraldScotland: Pawlett broke World champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson's junior recordPawlett broke World champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson's junior record

“I scored 5,557, so I was really pleased and now I’ll just be fine tuning everything.”

Pawlett’s track and field journey began aged eight at West Cheshire Athletics Club, whose policy of involving their youngsters in a variety of events saw the precocious talent gain her versatility.

Now representing Stockport Track & Field, Pawlett broke the British Indoor Under-17 heptathlon record in 2019 and has also replaced one of the stars she hopes to emulate in the local history books.

“I broke the north-west girls’ heptathlon record as an Under-17, which was held by KJT [Katarina Johnson-Thompson],” said Pawlett, who is hoping to gain a place at Loughborough University in September to study English Literature.

“As she’s quite local, with her being from Liverpool, she has done the same competitions as me so I can look at her progress and it makes it feel achievable.

“What Kat has gone on to do is really inspiring and Jessica Ennis-Hill is another big role model.

“Watching her in the hurdles at London 2012 is my first Olympic memory and ultimately, reaching that level is my dream.

HeraldScotland: Alongside her athletics, Pawlett also hopes to study English Literature at Loughborough UniversityAlongside her athletics, Pawlett also hopes to study English Literature at Loughborough University

“I’d love to do the Commonwealth Games next year but there are a lot of heptathletes doing really well at the moment – the World Juniors next year is probably my main priority.”

SportsAid and Wall’s Pastry’s partnership has helped fuel Pawlett’s burgeoning sporting journey, with an innovative on-pack Wall’s promotion giving consumers a chance to win a handful of money-can’t-buy experiences.

The on-pack promotion launched earlier this month and involves 50p from every pack sold going towards supporting the next generation of SportsAid stars.

The vital funding goes towards travel and equipment costs for young athletes and Pawlett doesn’t have to look far for inspiration among SportsAid alumni, with Ennis-Hill among those to have benefitted from similar programmes in the past.

“It’s exciting to know you’re on that ladder,” said Pawlett, whose younger sister Emily is a promising netball player in Manchester Thunder’s academy.

“You can see what the support has done for people who have been on these programmes. To think that’s me now, and in a few years people might be saying that about me, is quite exciting.

“Heptathlon is such a demanding event that every piece of support is so helpful, and this funding will help hugely.”

Wall’s Pastry is proud to be championing the next generation of UK athletes. For more information about Wall’s Pastry or the on-pack promotion, please visit www.walls-pastry.co.uk/.