TEENAGE middle distance ace Loren Bleaken has been handed a funding boost as part of UK Athletics’ Futures Programme.

The 17-year-old from Marshfield and her Team Bath coach Adrian Clover were one of just 23 athlete and coach pairings picked for a place on this year’s Futures programme, which aims to provide a pathway to the elite level of UKA’s World Class Performance Programme.

Bleaken can expect to receive financial support, access to doctors and physiotherapists through UKA and also be invited to high-profile meets.

The Hardenhuish School student said: “I think that they looked a lot at results and had certain times that people had to be getting consistently, so it’s really nice to be picked because there were only 23 places.

“I think that it will help a lot with going to competitions and things like that and there will also be a few meets that we’ll be invited to, but we’re not sure what ones they’ll be yet. Hopefully it will all help me a lot.”

Coach Clover said: “It is great news for Loren.

“We are not exactly sure what she will get in terms of financial support but there should be better access to medical support and I think we get invited to go along to training camps as well.

“It is nice to know that she is getting the attention of the selectors.”

Bleaken, who was ranked as the country’s top 800m runner at U17 level last season, is concentrating on cross country events this winter.

She recorded the third fastest time of the day in the U17 women’s race at the English Cross Country relays in Mansfield on Saturday.

Teammates Kirsty Stanley and Alice Dixon brought Team Bath home 19th.

Additional reporting by Kevin Fahey