Turner puts fitness before mental focus

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HUCKNALL’S top athlete, Andy Turner, believes physicality, and not mentality, will make all the difference between winning a medal and not at this summer’s World Championships and next year’s Olympic Games.

The 30-year-old (pictured) went some way to announcing his London 2012 intentions last year when upgrading both his European Championships and Commonwealth Games 110m hurdles bronze medals from 2006 to gold.

However Turner’s track record on the world and Olympic stage is less glamorous. Indeed the Hucknall star, albeit unfortunate through injury, has yet to reach a final at either.

He made his Olympic debut at the Athens Games in 2004, failing to make it out of Round One, while four years later in Beijing, he stumbled at Round Two and subsequently saw his National Lottery funding cut.

Turner showed he can top the podium at a major championships in 2010 but has vowed not to over-think things ahead of August’s Worlds in Daegu and 2012 afterwards, believing it could prove costly.

“I guarantee everybody will be going to Daegu to win medals and use it as a stepping stone towards the Olympics,” said Turner.

“If athletes can make a final in Daegu, they know they could go on and get a medal in London, so they will be very focused.

“Confidence-wise, it is very important to do well in the World Championships before the Olympics. But I believe that athletics is about 90% physical and about ten per cent in your head.

“If you can use the confidence you get from a championships, like I did from the Europeans and Commonwealths, then the world is your oyster.

“The best athlete might have a weak mind, and in hurdles, where you have to be fast and do ten good hurdles, you have to be confident.”

Turner picked up where he left off during a brief indoor season early this year, winning British gold and only missing out on the European Championships to concentrate on this summer’s Worlds.

However, having been sidelined through injury, most often with his hamstrings, more times then he would care to remember, Turner is taking things one step at a time.

“Athletes are good at being focused on what happens next week or next month, while keeping the big targets like London on the horizon,” he added.

“The Worlds are the big thing in 2011 and I’ll have to make the final first. Once you’re in the final, anything can happen.

“But even before then, I might trip over and break a leg, so you can never look too far ahead.”

THIS article was supplied in conjunction with Eurostar. Join fellow Europeans at the London 2012 ‘one year to go’ celebrations at St Pancras International, courtesy of Eurostar. View competition details at www.eurostar.com/london2012. Eurostar is the official international rail services provider to the Games and also to the British, French and Belgian Olympic teams.