WHITCHURCH’S Hector Pardoe sealed Britain’s first marathon swimming medal in more than a decade at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha.

The 22-year-old, who also swam at Ellesmere College, launched a late sprint to take bronze behind Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky and Marc-Antoine Olivier of France.

Pardoe’s medal, as well as a 15th place finish for team-mate Tobias Robinson, also secured Team GB two quota places for the Paris Olympics.

It marked a first world medal over the Olympic marathon swimming distance since Keri-Anne Payne won the women’s 10km world title in Shanghai in 2011.

And it will give Pardoe, born and raised in the Wrexham area, a chance to return to the Games after his Olympic debut in Tokyo was cut short when he sustained an eye injury early in the race.

“The emotions were quite high, following the path of redemption from Tokyo 2020 with the eye injury,” said Pardoe.

“I just wanted to secure the Olympic qualification, so to come out with a medal is even better.

“I was feeling great throughout the whole race, that last lap, I made it happen and followed my strategy perfectly.”