Turner revels in surprise World Championships medal

HUCKNALL hurdler Andy Turner looks at the screen after finishing fourth in the men's 110me hurdles final during Day Three of the IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Daegu Stadium in Daegu, South Korea (Dave Thompson/PA Wire)
HUCKNALL hurdler Andy Turner looks at the screen after finishing fourth in the men's 110me hurdles final during Day Three of the IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Daegu Stadium in Daegu, South Korea (Dave Thompson/PA Wire)
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A CONTROVERSIAL disqualification has resulted in Hucknall hurdler Andy Turner celebrating a bronze medal at the athletics World Championships in South Korea.

Turner, who is the reigning Commonwealth and European champion in the 110m hurdles, went into the championships in Daegu targeting a medal.

He was looking to finally deliver on the world stage against the best on the planet from America, South America and the Far East.

But his campaign looked to have ended in anguish on Sunday after he finished in fourth spot in the prestigious final — just 0.18 seconds off the podium.

However, two hours later, he was shocked to discover that he had been promoted to third place.

The reason was that winner and world record holder Dayron Robles, of Cuba, had been disqualified.

This came after an appeal by the Chinese team after a coming together at the ninth hurdle between their star, former Olympic champion Liu Xiang, and Robles.

Officials decided the Cuban’s right arm had come into contact with Xiang and impeded him. He was subsequently stripped of gold.

It meant American Jason Richardson, who posted a time of 13.16 seconds, took top spot and Xiang was promoted to silver.

After finding out he was a World Championship medallist, Turner said: “Oh my god I’ve got mixed emotions — I don’t know what to do.

“I want to cry, but I don’t want to cry — I won’t believe this is happening until I have got that medal round my neck.

“I’ve thought about this and dreamed about winning a world medal after my success in Barcelona (European Championships) last year but it was a big step and I just won’t believe it until I’ve got that medal.”

The success marks the latest step in a remarkable comeback for Turner, who was christened ‘Trackburner’ by the Dispatch when he burst onto the scene as a promising teenager.

For just two years ago, he was stripped of his National Lottery funding after UK Athletics bosses declared that he wasn’t capable of making the final of a major international event — the Worlds or the Olympics.

Turner rubbished those claims in Daegu after scraping through in his semi-final in fourth spot in exactly the same time he went on to record in the final.

In the heats, he finished second behind Xiang in a time of 13.32 — a tenth of a second outside his personal-best time.

SEE THIS WEEK’S DISPATCH FOR THE FULL STORY AND REACTION FROM TURNER’S FAMILY TO HIS SUCCESS