Young Newmarket Jogger eyeing up the biggest stage
Rhys Turnbull-Bester believes the sky is the limit after he was included in the Eastern Region squad for the Special Olympic Great Britain’s National Summer Games.
The meeting, which will be held in Sheffield in August 2017, is the country’s largest multi-sports event for athletes with intellectual disabilities.
A 23-strong team of athletes from Suffolk will compete over the five days, including Newmarket Joggers member Turnbull-Bester.
Aged just 17 at present, the 200m, 400m and relay runner will be up against more experienced opponents than himself.
However, with the tag of National champion to live up to, which the Red Lodge-based teenager will look to defend in Coventry this weekend, he is hopeful of making a positive impression next year.
“It is a real privilege to have been selected and a great honour to compete,” said the youngster.
“I will be up against guys a lot older than me, but I can hopefully pull something out of the bag.
“Being National champion gives me lots of confidence.
“If I train hard this summer and over the winter, I think I will have a good chance of winning.”
Were Turnbull-Bester to have a successful campaign in Sheffield, there is every chance it will open up the door for the 2018 European Games and 2019 World Summer Games selection.
Those competitions are at the forefront of his thinking, but he also has one eye on arguably the world’s biggest sporting event.
“I first want to qualify for the Europeans and the Worlds,” added Turnbull-Bester.
“But, after that, my aim is for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“That is in the long-term and I will have to keep training hard to make that happen.”
n The cost of sending the Suffolk squad to the Games is £14,700.
Turnbull-Bester has already started to raise funds by taking part in a swimming event (pictured above), but local businesses are also being encouraged to get involved with sponsorship.
n Callum Wilkinson continued his record-breaking form so far this year at the British Championships in Birmingham last Sunday.
On this occasion, the Moulton-based race-walker set a new national Under-20 best time of 19.54.47 over 5km.
It was enough for Wilkinson to finish third, although he was the second leading Brit behind Tom Bosworth owing to the fact the winner was Australian guest, Dane Bird-Smith.
Ahead of July’s World Junior Championships, 19-year-old Wilkinson will next race as a member of the Southern team at the inter-area match in Tamworth.
n Meanwhile, Goldie Sayers missed out on the title and also the qualifying distance for the Rio Olympics in the women’s javelin.
On what was her 15th appearance at the event, the 33-year-old from Newmarket could only muster a throw of 54.98m.
The distance secured Sayers second spot, with Joanna Blair (57.44m) the champion.
“Had a bad day today. Sadly, all good things come to an end. No title number 12, but hats off to Jo Blair for a cracking performance,” she tweeted.