A TEENAGE track star from Inverclyde is taking a transatlantic trip as he heads for the USA for a top scholarship.

Greenock athlete Lewis Hainey, who is a senior 800 metres Scottish champion, is off to study and train at the University of Missouri.

From there he hopes to develop as a middle distance runner, competing across the country as he dreams of future Olympic and world championship glory.

The 18-year-old Inverclyde Athletic Club runner will be following in the footsteps of other club members, including fellow runner Jonny Glen.

Former Clydeview Academy pupil Lewis, from Fort Matilda, said: "It is a great opportunity.

"It is something I have had my sights set on for some time.

"It is about stepping up to the next level and trying to compete at the highest level.

"It was a real challenge to get on the programme - I had to make consistent top times.

"I really want to develop while I am out in the States."

As well as trying to take his sporting performance to a new level, Lewis will also be busy with academic studies.

He said: "I'll be studying 50 per cent of the time.

"I have chosen civil engineering, and the rest of the time I will be going to competitions."

Lewis will spend three years in the USA and dad Allan and mum Brenda are right behind his decision.

He told the Tele: "We have been over to visit and everything is in place.

"My dad was in the army, so he has travelled the world.

"He wants me to go out there and do the same and not let any opportunity pass me by."

Before jetting off for his new life, Lewis is putting in the hours at the Inverclyde Athletic Club summer camp, passing on his work ethic and sense of determination to the next generation.

He added: "Inverclyde Athletics has been a great support to me and it is great to coach the youngsters as well."

Club coach Janice Hendrie says Lewis has done particularly well to secure such a good scholarship given the events of the last couple of years.

She said: "Lewis's age group has had it the hardest because of Covid.

"They never got the chance to compete in the Scottish Schools events at the senior level because all the sport just stopped.

"So this makes it an extra achievement for him.

"We really wish him all the best.

"It is a great chance for him."