IN-FORM Hucknall athlete Andy Turner warmed up for an explosive clash with the best hurdlers in the world by racing to the national indoors title.
Dad-of-two Turner (30) will take on world number one David Oliver, of the USA, and Olympic champion Dayron Robles, of Cuba, at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham on Saturday (February 19).
But before turning his attentions to that race, he had to take care of business at the UK Championships in Sheffield last weekend in an event that doubled up as the trials for the upcoming European Indoor Championships in Paris.
He duly secured a third national indoor title in the 60m hurdles in a season’s-best time of 7.61 seconds. He also finished second in the 200m sprint, narrowly missing out on a second gold.
However, he confirmed afterwards that he will not be going for gold in the hurdles in Paris.
Instead he will focus on the outdoor season, which culminates in the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, in August where the reigning European and Commonwealth 110m hurdles champion hopes to be in medal contention.
After Sheffield, Turner said: “The worlds are high up on my agenda and I have a lot of work to do before then so that is why I am not going (to Paris).
“I need to get closer to David (Oliver), who is the Olympic bronze medalist, and to do that I have to work hard. My aim is to close the gap between him and me so I can really compete on the world stage.
“I wasn’t really happy with how I ran in the hurdles in Sheffield, even though I won. I have to look at why that was.
“With me not going to Paris it is back to the hurdles training now. I am going to Los Angeles in April for six weeks and I will probably run a couple of races out there ready for the summer.”
Turner hopes to start closing the gap between himself and Oliver in Birmingham. The pair locked horns in Glasgow last month with the American taking the honours.
Tomorrow’s race will be the first time Turner, Oliver and Robles have competed against each other indoors since 2007.
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OUR PHOTO shows Turner winning the 60m hurdles at the indoor national championships.