For any 16 year old, to be chosen to represent England in an international tournament would be a huge achievement.
So for Ben Holmes, who stands just 4ft 6ins tall, his selection for the World Dwarf Games in Michigan, USA, has been hailed an inspiration.
Ben will compete against other dwarfs, many older than him, in several track events next month, including javelin, shot putt and discus.
He is also taking part in a number of new sports for him, such as archery and badminton.
Ben, of Kilnhouse Lane, St Annes, said: “I am not expecting to win anything, I just want to have fun and come back with experience and an understanding of what it might be like for me in the future.
“I am just going to try my best.”
Ben, a pupil at Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts College, has achondroplasia – a form of dwarfism – and became involved in sport around four years ago through the Dwarf Sports Association.
He trains at Blackpool Athletics Club when ever he can. He added: “I started out in the national games and through that I realised that I seriously wanted to do sports.”
A fund-raising night to help pay for Ben’s travel and accommodation in Michigan raised around £1,400 last week.
Sue Fieldhouse, who organised the event at The Loft, St Annes, said: “Ben is a big personality in the area; everyone knows him.He’s an inspiration in school.”
The World Dwarf Games begin on August 3.
Ben describes living with his condition as “hard, but I cope with it”. He said: “I get funny looks from people and I get called names, but I ignore it. “I think it’s something every dwarf has. “I just let people’s opinions go over my head. My friends are used to me, and just think of me as a normal person. People that I don’t know, if they want to knowmore about me they will ask, but people can sometimes be really ignorant.” Because of his dwarfism, Ben suffers aches in his joints, and has recently had surgery in an attempt to straighten his ankles. “Hopefully the surgery will help me walk a bit better,” he added.