RW Interviews: Andy Turner

After overcoming injury and funding problems, European 110m hurdle champion Andy Turner is one of Britain's brightest Commonwealth hopes


Posted: 28 September 2010
by Dominique Brady

After striking gold in the 110m hurdles in this summer's European Championships, Andy Turner is going for glory in the Commonwealth Games. This year the 30-year-old proved his talent to the racing community after two seasons beset by injury and the removal of lottery funding in 2008. Steely determination has pushed Turner through injury lows -and now he's chasing medal highs.

You took bronze at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006 - what are you hoping to achieve this time round?

Ideally I'd like to win another gold medal to add to my European medal from Barcelona. It's going to be tough and I've got strong competition but I have as good a chance as anybody, so I'm aiming for gold.

What did the Barcelona gold mean to you?

It meant everything. It had been my target for the year and it has been a difficult few years, so to be crowned European champion was a dream come true.

You are one of the few gold-winning athletes from Barcelona to compete in the Commonwealth Games. Why do these games matter to you?

Barcelona was always the main target for the year and Delhi was always going to a bonus if I was still in good shape. However, winning the bronze in Melbourne kick-started my career so I really enjoy these games. It's a global championship and if I was crowned Commonwealth champion that would be amazing for me.

Were you disappointed with your performance in the Aviva London Grand Prix last month? [Turner finished eighth in 13:54]

My heat was good and I made the final, but I linked arms with a guy next to me, so the event didn't go to plan and I was bitterly disappointed. However, I still feel I'm in good enough shape at the end of the season to go out and win a Commonwealth gold.

You had you lottery funding withdrawn in 2008 and it only returned in late 2009. Did that period sharpen your desire to win?

Not really. It was a frustrating time but I always had the desire and motivation to be as good as I could be. It was more of a case of proving to myself that I could do well, rather than proving anything to the people who didn't believe in me. It was frustrating for a while but you just have to carry on.

How did you manage to train at an elite level without funding?

It was tough. I used competitions and races abroad to generate money. I also had a private sponsor but I was competing in every race I could find. I also wanted to go to Berlin [the World Championships in 2009] and race well, so I was trying to find the balance between doing too many races and performing well. Obviously I crossed that line because my body started falling apart and I pulled my hamstring a week before the Berlin race. It was a tough year, a very difficult time.

Hamstring injuries plagued your season in 2007 and 2008 - how have you kept motivated through these periods?

You just have to set yourself a long-term goal and keep working towards it. My hardest time was Berlin last year but you just have to keep on going, set yourself another target and work towards that.

Now you are on form what are your other goals for the future?

Firstly to win the Commonwealth, then my aim is to move onto the world scene. I hope to make the final at the World Championships next year and to start running times that will put me in a mix for a medal. Then it will be London 2012 and I'd love to medal there.

What tips can you give on how to improve your running?

Train hard, eat right and get plenty of rest and recovery. Follow a sensible training plan and don't over train. Listen to your body's symptoms; if you feel like your body will be injured if you do another rep, then don't do it. I used to do the opposite - I would train and train and train until fell apart, but I've realised that you can't do that.


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