Athlete Jess Turner admits she is in the form of her life as she prepares to compete in one of the most prestigious multi-sport competitions in the world, next month.
The 400m hurdler from Denby Village, who juggles her athletics training by working as a lifeguard at the William Gregg VC Leisure Centre, in Heanor, is one of nearly 10,000 participants from 170 countries expected to compete at the World University Games (WUGs) held in Chinese Taipei, from August 19 to 30.
Held biennially in major cities across the globe, the WUGs sees athletes come together to compete across numerous sports, with the Summer Universiade the world’s second largest multi-sport event, after the Olympics.
And having recently secured a third-place finish at the British Championships and storming to silver for Great Britain at the Under 23 European Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, 21-year-old Turner is elated that she is peaking at the perfect moment.
“I’ve just gained so much confidence from my performance in Poland and I’m hoping I can carry that form through to the WUGs. I’m still trying to process the fact I got a silver medal,” said the former Loughborough University student, who clocked a personal best time of 56.08 seconds at the event.
“The Games was always one of my goals this season and because it’s in Chinese Taipei, it’s going to be an amazing experience. I’m just so excited for it.
“It will be great to go to the event and not just watch athletics, but other sports like football and tennis and everything else. It’s going to be such an awesome weekend watching other sports.”
Turner’s scintillating performance in Poland means that she has already secured the qualifying time for next year’s Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast – and has also met the Olympic qualifying standard for Tokyo 2020.
But despite her recent success, the former John Flamsteed Community School pupil insists she will not get ahead of herself and vows to use her experience at the WUGs as another stepping stone towards her long-term goal of one day competing at the Olympics.
“For me, it’s all about the experience and having a good time while I’m out there,” said Turner.
“I’m obviously going to try my very best and run the fastest time I can. To make the final would be a massive achievement for me,” she added.
“I’m pleased that I’ve already had that experience going abroad with a team. I know it’s the furthest I’ll have to travel but hopefully I can use the trip to build on my training for Tokyo 2020 – which is a long term aim of mine.
“To run the Olympic qualifying time in Poland was a huge relief – because I know that in the next three years I’m only going to get faster and stronger.”
British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, organising leagues and competitions for more than 150 institutions across 52 different sports. Over 110 athletes will represent the GB team at the 29th FISU Summer World University Games 2017 from 19-30 August.