Almi Nerurkar knows the Olympic Games like the back of her hand – and is hellbent on following in father Richard’s memorable Barcelona and Atlanta footsteps.

20-year-old track star Nerurkar, from Hove, has heard all about her father Richard’s experiences at the 1992 and 1996 Games – where he competed in the 10,000m in Spain before finishing fifth in the marathon four years later. 

Having made the switch from triathlon just last year, Nerurkar is currently at the University of Leeds – where she studies French and Spanish – and has Olympic potential after reaching the British Championship 5000m final in her first running-focused year.  

And the Sussex ace said: “I definitely want to go to an Olympics. That would be the dream.

“With the Olympics this year, seeing people I know who are going and training for it makes it seem more of a possibility for me.  

“I’m now in the Under-23 age group, this is my first season in it, so I’m aiming for the GB team over the next few years. In 2024, that would be amazing. 

“In February last year I realised I wanted to focus just on running. In summer, I did a 3000m race that was a bit last minute, and that went really well. From that, I broke the Sussex record and then I went to British Champs.  

“That was epic. It was such good fun because I wasn’t expecting to get an invitation to that and there wasn’t any pressure on me, so I was just enjoying it.

This Is Lancashire: Nerurkar made the final of the British Championships in the 5000m just one year after switching her focus from triathlonNerurkar made the final of the British Championships in the 5000m just one year after switching her focus from triathlon

“My family are so supportive of my athletics. My dad obviously knows a lot about it, but he has still always let it be my thing, which is really nice. He sometimes gives me advice but doesn’t impose on my coaching. I go on runs with him occasionally which is always fun.” 

Hailing from Teddington, London, Nerurkar then spent the next ten years of her life in Ethiopia, which ultimately grew her passions for distance-running and travelling. 

On her return to the UK, Nerukar joined Brighton Phoenix Running Club and has hopes to put her language skills to the test at international competitions. 

“I liked lots of sports at school, but also because of living in Ethiopia, being an athlete was always quite a cool thing,” Nerurkar added. 

“When I was in Ethiopia, my dad’s job was to do with athletes as he set up the Great Ethiopian Run which is a mass running race in Ethiopia and they do several a year, so I was always found runners there quite inspirational. 

“Tirunesh Dibaba is my sporting hero. She’s Ethiopian and has won three Olympics golds, and more World Championship titles. She’s also just got a really nice running technique and makes it look so easy and majestic. I find her really inspirational.” 

This Is Lancashire: Alongside competing in athletics, Nerurkar studies French and Spanish at the University of LeedsAlongside competing in athletics, Nerurkar studies French and Spanish at the University of Leeds

Nerukar’s career has been powered by a partnership between SportsAid and Wall’s Pastry’s, with an innovative on-pack Wall’s promotion giving consumers a chance to win a handful of money-can’t-buy experiences.

And Nerukar, who benefits from 50p from every Wall’s pack sold going towards supporting the next generation of SportsAid stars, added:

“Obviously doing your sport and going out running is only half of the journey to success because there’s so many other things that are important, like sleep and nutrition. 

“With the support from SportsAid, those kinds of things are easier to access and prioritise. With their support, hopefully I can compete abroad.

“Obviously, that can get expensive, especially with Covid around because of the tests and everything, but it’d be so great to race internationally.” 

Wall’s Pastry is proud to be championing the next generation of UK athletes. For more information about Wall’s Pastry or the on-pack promotion, please visit www.walls-pastry.co.uk/.