Long distance runner Charlotte Taylor believes competing for Great Britain at the BUCS World University Games will whet her appetite for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Spalding-born Taylor is one of almost 10,000 participants from over 170 countries expected to compete at the Games which will be held in Chinese Taipei from August 19 to 30.

Held biennially in major cities across the globe, the World University Games (WUGS) sees athletes come together to compete across numerous sports with the Summer Universiade the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympics and Taylor is relishing the opportunity to run in the unique event.  

“This is my first WUGs and I’m super excited. I was hoping to be included in the squad, I felt like I met the criteria at the qualifiers and it’s great when I had it confirmed,” said the 23-year-old.

“To share the experience with other athletes all over the world is great and to have athletes from other sports there too is going to be very exciting.

“One day I would love to run at the Olympics. I feel like the WUGs will be a good taster for that experience and hopefully it will throw me on and motivate me to achieve that.

“Tokyo would be the dream and I’m hoping to improve until then.”

Taylor, a former pupil at Spalding High School, has recently completed her second year at the University of San Francisco, where she is studying a masters in International & Development Economics – while going from strength to strength in her sport. 

“It was a bit of a spontaneous decision to move to America. I wanted to see if I could pursue my running again,” said Taylor, who still runs for her local club Nene Valley Harriers when she is back home in the UK.

“I’ve had some great support at San Francisco and have made a lot of progress and it’s all paying off.

“In my view, there’s much more of a focus on athletics at American Universities – although I can only speak for myself. At San Francisco, we have a dedicated coach who’s employed to look after everyone there.

“It’s a slightly different team environment which I’d perhaps not experienced before, but all the medical coaches have helped me push to the next level.

“The medical support I’ve received has been really helpful because I’ve suffered with a few injuries in the past and the team have played a massive part in helping me stay injury free which is key.”

Taylor has made massive strides on the track this year, having stormed to gold in the National Collegiate Championships in the 10,000m, which she ran in 32 minutes and 38 seconds.

“It was probably the biggest performance in my life and it was a pretty exciting day – winning the collegiate championships is definitely my career highlight so far.

“The 10,000 is my main event really but I’ve had lots of 10,000m races this year – that was my focus throughout the collegiate season.

“I’m going to run the 5000 at the WUGs to try and expand my championship experience in the 5k.

“I haven’t raced much in the 5k this year so I think it will be a good opportunity to see what I can do over the shorter distance.”

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, organising leagues and competitions for more than 150 institutions across 52 different sports. Over 110 athletes will represent the GB team at the 29th FISU Summer World University Games 2017 from 19-30 August.