Hucknall athlete Andy Turner has expressed “massive relief” after qualifying for at least the semi-finals at his last major championship.
Sprint hurdler Turner (33) announced he is to retire from the sport at the end of the year after a calamitous Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where, as the defending champion, he crashed out in the opening round.
So he was full of nerves when lining up for his qualifying heat in the European Championships at Zurich on Wednesday morning.
After a cautious performance, he finished only fourth in a time of 13.51 seconds, which was well short of his personal best of 13.22.
But he scraped through to the semi-finals, which are to be held tonight (Thursday), as one of the fastest losers. The final is also tonight.
“It’s just a massive relief to get through,” said Turner, whose family home is on Nottingham Road.
“The demons were in my head after Glasgow, and are still there. I’m thrilled to bits to get that race out of the way.
“I know I have to run a lot better to medal, but I want to go out of my last major championship with my head held high. If the semi-final is to be my last race, I want to go out fighting.”
Turner, who has competed at three Olympic Games, won gold in the 110m hurdles at the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona.