Hurdler Andy Turner hit by injury scare on eve of Commonwealth Games

FINDING TIME FOR THE FANS  - -    even when he is struggling with injury, Hucknall's Olympic athlete Andy Turner always finds time to sign autographs for supporters in the crowd.
FINDING TIME FOR THE FANS - - even when he is struggling with injury, Hucknall's Olympic athlete Andy Turner always finds time to sign autographs for supporters in the crowd.

The comeback of Hucknall hurdler Andy Turner has hit an injury barrier -- on the eve of the Commonwealth Games.

Turner (33) is all geared up to defend his 110m hurdles Commonwealth title, which he won at Delhi in 2010.

But fresh fears have surfaced about his fitness after he was forced to withdraw from the Sainsbury’s British Championships.

“I tweaked a nerve in my back, which has led to problems with my hamstring and my hip,” Turner told the Dispatch this week.

“It means I can’t myself into the right position to jump my hurdles and I can’t get the times I want.

“I still feel I’m in decent shape, but the injury is not ideal timing.

“I had five injections the following day, which will hopefully help me get to the root of the problem.

“But my fitness isn’t quite what it should be. I’ve had one or two little niggles over the past six weeks.

“Because I am no longer funded with National Lottery money, I can’t get the regular physio treatment I need.

“However, the England Athletics organisation have primised to help me out, so that is a bit of lifeline.”

The Commonwealth Games, to be staged in Glasgow from 24th July to 3rd August, are only three weeks away.

And Turner was hoping for a bold showing at the British Championships, which were held at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium.

He qualified for the final by finishing second in his heat, clocking a time of 13.89 seconds.

But feeling his hamstring and hip, he pulled out of the final, which was won by his old rival, Will Sharman in 13.18, ahead of Lawrence Clarke (13.61), who finished fourth in the London 2012 Olympics final.

Sharman and Clarke are almost certain to be picked to represent Team GB at the European Championships, which follow the Commonwealths in August at Zurich.

Given that he is the only other British sprint hurdler to have achieved the qualifying time, Turner is hoping to be named as the third member of the squad, which would give him the chance to follow up the gold medal he won at the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona.

However, the latest injury-setback has cast doubt on his plans.

“To be honest, I am not confident at the moment that I will be A1 for the Commonwealths or the Europeans,” Turner admitted. “But I think I can be.

“I am hoping the injections calm certain areas down and allow me to get the work in I need.

“It would be very sad not to make the team. I would like to get the opportunity. But it is all very frustrating at the moment.”

Turner, who has competed at three Olympic Games, has been working hard to make the most of the twilight years of his career after enduring a dreadful 2013.

Injury forced him to miss the entire athletics season. He was stripped of his Lottery funding of £20,000 because he was no longer considered a medal prospect. And then, he had to cope with the shock, sudden death of his mother, and biggest fan,Yvonne, at the age of 59.

What’s more, he was the victim of a callous burglary at the family’home on Nottingham Road, Hucknall during his mum’s funeral.

If he makes it to Glasgow, Turner will be aiming to win a medal for the third Commonwealth games running, having also scooped bronze at Melbourne in 2006.

A special award for clubman of the year was won by goalkeeper Glenn Guyatt.