AMBITIOUS Hucknall athlete Andy Turner is hoping that some minimal changes can bring about the massive shock he needs to secure an Olympic medal with the London 2012 Games now just a year away.
Turner (30), pictured in action above, enjoyed an all-conquering year in 2011 as he took gold in the 110m hurdles at the European Championship and Commonwealth Games.
However, with the global hurdling world dominated by the big three of Cuba’s Dayron Robles, China’s Liu Xiang and America’s David Oliver, any analysis of the magnitude of Turner’s win has to come with a big caveat.
Turner’s medal-winning produced a best time of 13.28, only good enough for tenth in last year’s world rankings and 0.39 of a second shy of Oliver’s best.
However, while the pundits waxed lyrical about his displays last year, Turner immediately got back to the drawing board in a bid to find that half of a second.
And with this week marking the beginning of the year-long countdown to 2012, Turner, who was nicknamed ‘Trackburner’ by the Dispatch, is keeping his fingers crossed that some technical adjustments can reap the rewards in the capital next year at what would be his third appearance at an Olympic Games.
“Last year was a great year for me obviously,”said father-of-two Turner, who grew up on Nottingham Road.
“But as soon as it was over, my coach and I sat down and worked out a two-year plan to make sure that I am in the best possible shape that I can be for London.
“It is not like I have a countdown or think about it all the time but it was important that I worked out a plan so that I can be the best I can be there.
“I didn’t have huge things to change but there were some technical things that I wanted to work on between last year and London 2012.
“I needed to improve my hurdling technique because although it looks smooth and it is quite efficient, there are things I can improve on it.
“I need to try and improve that so that I can get quicker over the hurdles. If I can get a tenth back here and a tenth back there, then that is going to make a big difference and hopefully mean I can be challenging for a medal.
“It is going to be difficult to break into that top three because there are some fantastic hurdlers but it is one of those events where anything can happen. Someone can hit a hurdle and that could be their race over.”
With the majority of tickets sold and venues completed, the first home Olympics since 1948 is fast becoming a reality.
But Turner — who lowered his personal best to 13.22 seconds at the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, last month — insists he won’t be getting ahead of himself.
First he must tackle the UK Championships this weekend, which double up as the World Championships trials at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium.
Then it is the World Championships proper in Deagu, South Korea, next month. Turner, who has been injury-prone throughout his career, must also make sure he stays fit.
“It’s not something I count down to every day,” added Turner. “It’s always there in the back of your mind but I am just taking every day as it comes.
“I just need to focus on the job in hand, which is the World Championships this year.
“London is exciting but I have got to qualify, that is the first thing.
“I need to concentrate on that first and making some little improvements to my hurdling and then hopefully next year I can think about the Olympics.”
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