SEPTEMBER 22 - STEPHANIE TWELL (pictured), tipped as a potential gold medallist at the 2012 Olympics, was today named as the Waterford Crystal European Athletics Rising Star 2008.
The 19-year-old from Aldershot won the World Junior Championships 1500 metres gold medal in July and follows in the footsteps of her compatriot Jessica Ennis, who took the inaugural Waterford Crystal European Athletics Rising Star award 12 months ago.
Earlier this month Twell finished seventh in the 3,000m at the the International Association of Athletics Federations World Athletics Final in Stuttgart in a time of 8min 50.89, nearly a second faster than Paula Radcliffe ran at the same age.
It made Twell the fastest-ever British-born teenager over the distance [South African-born Zola Budd holds the UK junior record with 8:28.83]
The outstanding year for Twell actually started in December 2007 when she retained her SPAR European Cross Country Championships junior women's title, the first athlete to perform such a feat.
She said: "That was incredible.
"To just win one title was fantastic, to defend it and go into the history books is something that seems like a dream."
As she does not turn20 until next August, she is still young enough to be able to attempt a triple crown at this year's Championships in Brussels on December 14.
During the summer, Twell turned her attention to triumphing on the track and she unleashed an stunning last lap in the World Junior Championships 1500m to hit the front with 200m to go and cross the line in 4:15.09
She said: "I can now go out and be a great senior athlete because of what I learned in Bydgoszcz.
"I came away from there learning a lot, how to race more tactically, be strong at racing and just don't be dictated to by the Africans, but just to show them that I am here to ruffle a few feathers too."
Five days after her victory in Poland, she clocked 4:05.83 at the ÅF Golden League meeting in Paris for the fastest time by a junior women in the world this year and it also earned her a place on the plane to Beijing.
At the Olympics, Twell again proved herself to be the top teenager over the distance as she ran 4:06.68 to finish sixth in her heat, just missing out on a place in the final although she left many more experienced runners trailing in her wake.
Twell is convinced her day will come, perhaps in four years time on home soil when London hosts the Olympics.
She said: "This is a whole life package.
"I live this sport, breathe it, dream it.
"The plan is to run 1,500m or 5,000m in London, the 5,000m in 2016 and then I'd love to step up to the marathon in 2020."