Turner to find top gear at Olympic trials

FAN SUPPORT -- Hucknall hurdler Andy Turner receives a card and best wishes from his supporters as he gears up for the Olympic trials.
FAN SUPPORT -- Hucknall hurdler Andy Turner receives a card and best wishes from his supporters as he gears up for the Olympic trials.

OLYMPIC medal-hopeful Andy Turner, of Hucknall, remains convinced he won’t be traded in for a younger model — claiming he will prove he remains the best in Britain at the London 2012 Aviva Trials in Birmingham later this month.

The 31-year-old 110m hurdler won World Championships bronze in Daegu, South Korea, last summer — a year after securing a European Championship and Commonwealth Games golden double.

But during the early stages of the season he was hindered by an Achilles problem and was absent from the 60m hurdles line-up at the World Indoor Championships in March where 20-year-old fellow Brit Andrew Pozzi came fourth and has since trimmed his personal best to 13.35 seconds.

Turner is 0.13 seconds quicker over the longer distance and is only too aware that Pozzi, and Commonwealth bronze medallist Lawrence Clarke, 22, are snapping at his heels.

At the City Games in Manchester recently, Turner could only manage fourth place in the 110m hurdles in a time of 14.16 seconds. But he’s adamant he will be firing on all cylinders when he arrives on the starting line for the trials, which begin next Friday (June 22).

“I’m confident going into the Olympics and I know what I need to be doing,” he said.

“Obviously I was disappointed with the 110m hurdles in Manchester but that’s something I’ll work on

to improve and get right the next time.

“I’m feeling really good in terms of the Olympic trials, I just need to get a race nailed. I know I’m in decent condition but it’s about not making mistakes which is what I am making at the moment.

“Sooner or later it will click and I’m feeling confident ahead of the Olympics. I just need to make sure it all goes right on the day.

“The injury is feeling fine, it’s not something that’s bothering me. That stumble in the 110m hurdles (at Manchester) wasn’t related.

“I know I need to keep working hard as the Olympics get closer and as long as I keep doing that I’m happy.”

The trials will be the biggest British qualification events of any Olympic sports and the most competitive since the 1992 Barcelona Olympic trials, as more than 750 of Britain’s best athletes — including Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis, Phillips Idowu and Dai Greene — go head-to-head in a battle for selection.

Athletes can guarantee nomination for selection by finishing in the top two positions in their event as long as they also hold a current ‘A’ standard, with the Team GB squad being announced by the British Olympic Association on Tuesday July 3.

As well as Turner, Pozzi and Clarke, the likes of Commonwealth silver medallist William Sharman will be bidding to secure one of the three available British spots for the 110m hurdles, giving UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee a considerable headache.

But the Dutchman, who is targeting eight medals from London 2012, is relishing the strength in depth ahead of the trials at the Alexander Stadium.

“I am looking forward to the Aviva 2012 Trials,” said van Commenee. “There is a depth in the sport that we have not seen for 20 years and we have a number of events where five or six athletes are competing for three places.

“It doesn’t take a genius to work out the maths and athletes will need to be at the very top of their game if they want to make the team for London 2012.”

BACK the team and watch more than 750 British best athletes at the Aviva 2012 Trials in Birmingham from Friday June 22 to Sunday June 24.

For tickets visit www.uka.org.uk/aviva-series or call 08000 55 60 56. #backtheteam.