FORMER 110m hurdles gold medallist Colin Jackson insists Andy Turner can force his way into the top five at this weekend’s World Athletics Championships — but concedes that the medal podium may be a bridge too far.
Turner heads to Daegu, South Korea as the reigning European and Commonwealth champion after completing a fine double last year, banishing the torturous memories of 2009 when his Lottery funding was cut before he limped out in the heat stages of the last World Championships in Berlin with a hamstring problem.
This season, he has lowered his personal-best time to 13.22 seconds. But he has all too often found himself leading the also-rans and struggling to compete with the world’s best.
And Jackson, who won two world titles and held the world record time of 12.91 for more than a decade, believes a medal in Daegu is out of Turner’s reach — unless his rivals push the self-destruct button.
“The aim for Andy has to be to try and force his way into the top five,” said Jackson.
“That is going to be difficult but it is something he can do. Andy is such a good battler that you know if he is there or thereabouts in the latter stages of the race, he is not going to give up.
“In the hurdles, anything can happen with athletes hitting hurdles, so it would be great if Andy can give himself a chance by getting into that top five in Daegu.
“Andy is still a little way off the best hurdlers in the world and he could do with getting his personal best down to the 13.15 seconds sort of mark and that will give him an even better chance.”
While Turner does not like to broadcast it, 2009 was a dark year in his career. He has even admitted in the past that he came close to calling time on his athletics career.
But he ended the season by clocking the fastest time in Europe that year and earned himself a return to Lottery funding level.
Now Jackson believes Turner must show that sort of tenacity in Daegu if he’s to have any chance of upsetting the applecart.
“Andy has had some hard times and he doesn’t like talking about it now,” added Jackson. “But I will do it for him and say that he has done fantastically to come back after losing his Lottery funding and have such a great season last year.”
n THIS article was supplied in conjunction with Eurostar, which is opening the way to London 2012. As the official international rail services provider to London 2012, Eurostar will bring hundreds of thousands of sports fans from the continent to London to soak up the atmosphere. Find out more at www.eurostar.com/london2012.