SHE might only be 16, but Chippenham starlet Lauren Booth knows what it takes if she is to make it to the top of professional para-cycling.

Booth, who trains at Newport Velodrome, has gone from strength to strength since first sitting in the saddle four years ago and is one of the top junior para-cyclists in the country – and even pushes herself against able-bodied athletes.

Her hard work and dedication to the sport is clear to see – the Abbeyfield School pupil won two national jerseys at the National British Championships in Manchester at the start of the year in the time trial and the flying 200m.

“I do fancy myself as a bit of a sprinter,” Booth concedes. “My favourite event on the track is probably the 500m.”

Booth, who has cerebral palsy, is currently gearing up to compete in the British Cycling National Youth & Junior Track Championships, which will be held in Newport during the first week of August, where she will once again do battle alongside able-bodied athletes in the under-16 and junior categories.

But competing against able-bodied cyclists isn’t new territory for the determined teenager, who admits she thrives on pushing herself to new limits.

“I’ll be competing against able bodied cyclists at the senior nationals in Manchester this year,” said Booth, who trains for around two hours every day after school.

“I’m usually more dominant in para-cycling, but I like the challenge of being able to test myself.”

In her quest to one day emulate her cycling inspiration Jody Cundy, Booth will be aided by being part of the SSE Next Generation programme for a third year running, one of 50 athletes given financial support and recognition, with world and Olympic champion Katie Archibald just one of the alumni.

The promising cycling star will be supported in everything from travel costs to lifestyle management through different workshops run throughout the year.

And the teenager couldn’t hide her delight at once again securing a place on the programme with SSE, who this year are working across 24 different sports.

“It’s great being part of the SSE programme,” the athlete said.

“The programme gives us lots of new opportunities - I went to the Commonwealth Games three years ago in Glasgow with SSE, which was pretty special.

“I met lots of other athletes from different sports who were a similar age to me and it was really interesting to hear about how they train.”

Since 2013, SSE is proud to make a difference to young people, their families and their communities, by investing in the future of sporting talent through the SSE Next Generation scheme. Keep up to date @YourSSE