A SHOOTOUT with the current fastest hurdler in the world will provide a high-octane start to the new athletics season for Hucknall’s Andy Turner.
The 30-year-old is hungry for more success this year after a dream 2010 that saw him take gold in the 110m hurdles at both the European Championships in Barcelona, Spain and the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.
The new season will culminate in the outdoor World Championships in Daegu, South Korea in August when Turner is again hoping to be in medals contention.
Preparations start with the indoor season and the Aviva International in Glasgow on Saturday January 29 when Turner will go head-to-head with US star David Oliver.
The duo, who were once training partners, will then renew their rivalry at the indoor Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham on Saturday February 19.
Oliver ran the fastest time in the world last year and completed 15 outdoor races unbeaten.
But Turner is full of confidence after a breakthrough 2010 in which he took his first international titles and was catapulted to a position as one of the best hurdlers on the planet.
Turner is urging fans in Birmingham and Glasgow to get behind him. “David is currently the best hurdler in the world and the races will be tough,” he said.
However he admits he is looking at the indoor season “as a bit of fun”.
He says the priority is the World Championships this year and then the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
“It was a long season last year and it was hard mentally,” said Turner. “But I am back and ready to go and my thirst for success is still there.
“The big thing is the World Championships and all my training is geared towards that at the moment. I feel in good shape. At this stage last year, I wasn’t running at all because of an Achilles injury and I went on to take two golds.
“I am surprising both myself and my coach. We have had a bio-mechanics guy come in and look at my technique.
“He says I’m spending more time in the air over the hurdles than the top guys in the world but I am quicker on the flat. He thinks I could shave two or three tenths of a second off my times, which would put me in medal contention at any major championships.
“It isn’t going to happen overnight. But it’s nice to hear there is plenty in the tank.”