A deaf triathlete has plans to turn professional after he impressed at the European Triathlon Championships earlier this month.

Oliver Pritchard, 22, finished 11th out of 23 in the 20-24 category and in the top quarter of males at the event in Weert, Netherlands, alongside some of the world’s elite triathletes.

He was born profoundly deaf and relies on a cochlear implant to hear.

Oliver is currently in his final year at Cirencester's Royal Agricultural University.

The student is now competing with hearing athletes on a regular basis and is planning on turning professional after he has finished his studies.

Oliver, of Cirencester Athletics Club, stumbled into the sport three years ago and has gone from strength to strength. After qualifying for this year’s European Championships, he was also offered a place at the 2020 Deaf Olympics in Japan.

The standard triathlon consists of a 1.5km swim, a 40km cycle and a 10km run. In order to compete in the swim, Oliver has to remove his cochlear implant, meaning he has to compete in all three phases without it.

Oliver has been on a mission to prove doubters wrong ever since he was a child and is now aiming to do the same on the professional stage.

"When I was little, I was told by a coach that I couldn't compete in a cross country race because of my cochlear implant.

"I still did the race and I beat everyone in the school," he explained.

"Ever since that day, I’ve wanted to prove people wrong and show that deaf people can achieve anything their hearing peers can.

“I want to try and to promote the sport and build awareness about deafness and disability.

My triathlon suit has 'deaf' written on it and my eventual aim is to turn pro and be the best athlete I can be. There’s no reason why being deaf should affect that.”

His result in the Netherlands was a step in the right direction towards his goal and he was pleased to get the chance to represent his country and perform how he did in tough conditions.

“What an opportunity to race for Team GB," he said.

"Race day was a scorching hot day and if it wasn’t for those water showers I would be lying underneath a tree! As a whole, I had a blast of a time and I was very happy to come away with sub-one hour time in the cycling.”

Oliver plans to raise money for charity along the way and he’s already supported the National Deaf Children’s Society, raising almost £500 for them last summer in the London2Paris 24-hour cycle.