The 28-year-old won the senior men's pole vault at the national championships in Birmingham on Sunday which, as he has also cleared the qualifying height twice, means he has gained automatic selection for his first Olympics in Rio. He was one of three Barnsley men in the top ten.

"I am very happy," said Cutts, who flies out to Brazil at the end of this month and has also been selected for the European Championships in Amsterdam on July 6-8.

"I have trained for 16 years for this. I am going there to win a medal. I need good conditions but they should be perfect in Brazil. I have got my GB kit now and my seat on the plane is booked. It's exciting.

"The whole trip will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, my event but also the opening ceremony and closing ceremony. I will never forget any of it and I can't wait for it.

"It's good to have somebody from our village doing something big because it doesn't happen very often. People talk to me on the street about it every day when I am out and about in Thurnscoe. I am sure they will do it even more now I am definitely going to Rio. But I don't mind at all."

Cutts was well down on his British record of 5.83 in Birmingham but his height of 5.4 was still enough to beat old rival Steven Lewis and Jax Thoirs who had both travelled back from their training bases in the USA but could only clear 5.25.

Dearne ALC jumper Cutts, who needed to finish in the top two to be sure of a place in Rio, said: "I wasn't going to give the selectors any opportunity not to take me. I did what I had to do and I wasn't letting that opportunity slip away.

"There were a couple of other good vaulters there but I knew they weren't going to beat me, I could just sense it as soon as I turned up. I had a really good warm-up and that gave me a positive attitude. "I would have liked to have gone higher but the wind was very bad."

In Text Promo Image

Cutts' Barnsley-based coach Trevor Fox added: "Steve Lewis and Jax Thoirs came over from the USA where they compete at a high altitude but they couldn't cut it at sea level in Britain. Luke went into the competition confident and got the job done. He will have to go a bit higher to medal in Rio but we've got time to work on that."

Fox believes the Olympic call-up is well-deserved by Cutts who has competed in the Commonwealth Games twice, winning silver in 2014, and the World Championships in 2009. But he has also had several controversial omissions from GB squads such as for the 2013 worlds in Moscow. Fox said: "It's a great achievement and long overdue for Luke. He's had so many knockbacks and disappointments but he always picks himself back up and starts again.

""The Olympics is the ultimate for any athlete. It's not an easy thing to achieve. He deserved to get there. Now he's got that impetus to train towards Rio and I'm sure he will challenge for a medal. There's no doubt that he can compete for a place on the podium."

Coach Fox had another athlete competing in the British Championships as 21-year-old Nicholas Cole from Bolton-On-Dearne finished fifth with 4.95m. Fox said: "It was good height for Nicolas and he's another prospect on the conveyer belt behind Luke."

Barnsley man Rhys Searles, who now competes for Enfield and Haringey, was seventh in 4.75.

See this week's Chronicle for a full look at all Barnsley's Olympic hopefuls