A WORCESTER national champion’s joy turned to woe when his world junior hopes were scuppered by a serious knee injury.

Joel Khan was crowned junior national indoor high jump champion at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield.

The Worcester Athletic Club ace, 18, jumped personal bests of 2.17 metres and 2.20m in a hard-fought competition against the best under 20s men in the United Kingdom to secure the gold medal.

In clearing 2.20m, Khan surpassed the standard of 2.17m set by British Athletics for selection for July’s World Junior Championships in Finland.

The height also placed the Worcester teenager sixth in this year’s men’s under 20s world rankings and fifth for all UK men which is headed by 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz.

But his dreams of representing Great Britain at the worlds came crashing down as he suffered a serious knee injury attempting the next height of 2.23m.

Worcester Sixth Form College student Khan now faces surgery and extensive rehabilitation but is determined to return to training and competition to achieve one of his goals which is to represent England at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022.

He said: “It’s extremely mixed feelings for me, jumping not only a lifetime best but world qualifying standard and surpassing the 2.20m mark which puts me into a whole new category of jumpers across the world.

“Unfortunately while attempting 2.23m, which would have ranked me second under 20 in the world, I planted my foot wrong and ended up rupturing my patella.

“This is unbelievably disappointing as I felt I had so much more to come this season and possibly a world championship medal.

“However, this injury sets me on a new challenge. It will take me around nine to 12 months to come back from this and will require me to push myself to the limit physically and mentally.

“I will come back stronger than I was before.”

Khan, who went to Worcester’s Tudor Grange Academy, has previously jumped for GB at the European Youth Championships in 2016 and the European Junior Championships in 2017.

His coach Deirdre Elmhirst said: “Joel will face the challenges ahead and return from this setback with the same mindset that has helped him to achieve his goals so far.

“That is he will work hard to do all the rehabilitation required and will take positive strength from this experience. I cannot say too much how proud I am of this young man.”

Khan is looking for any local businesses that may be interested in supporting him through his surgery and extensive rehabilitation.

His mother Sarah said: “These costs are going to be huge but we were certain we needed to choose a knee specialist surgeon to perform the operation to enable Joel to jump again in the future.”

People can follow Khan’s journey back to high jumping by following his Facebook page Joel Clarke Khan-High Jumper or on Instagram joelkhan_.