BILLINGE athlete Harry Coppell says it is “like a dream” after securing his place in the Great Britain team at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 24-year-old retained his British pole vault title in Manchester on Sunday to make sure he will be on the plane to Japan.

The Wigan Harrier had already seen off the rest of the field with a with a third-time clearance of 5.70m when he attempted to break the British record of 5.85m he sat at last year’s British Championships, but couldn’t clear it.

After lifting the crown, Coppell said: “It is like a dream.

“When you come into the sport as a kid you wonder if one day you can be an Olympian.

“I can almost say I am an Olympian and it is a brilliant feeling.

“It is amazing.

“I knew I had to get the job done - and we managed to do it.

“There were a couple of sketchy jumps at the start but we got in and got through it pretty well.”

The former Chapel End pupil explained that he changed a number of things since last year, with a new run up style as well as using different poles.

“Everything either goes well or terribly, we are getting more consistency as the weeks go on.

“We have two more competitions before we fly out just to gain more momentum and then get on the plane ready to go,” he said.

The pole vault qualifying stage is 31 July with the final on 3 August.