Trip of a lifetime for Denby athletics ace

Jessica Turner, Denby athlete
Jessica Turner, Denby athlete

Amber Valley and Erewash AC’s athlete Jess Turner embarks on the trip of a lifetime as she flies to the United States this week to compete in the World Junior Track and Field Championships.

The 18-year-old from Denby Village competes in the 400m hurdles event and it is in this event that she will compete against the best young athletes in the world in the Under 20 age group.

She is currently ranked 12th globally with a best time of 58.44. The championships are being billed as ‘the biggest ever IAAF event on U.S soil’ with some 1,500 competitors from over 170 countries likely to attend this bi-annual event. The event runs from July 22-27.

Jess ran inside the tough qualifying standard set by British Athletics at a meeting in France last weekend, following an injury-hit winter in which her training was severely affected, which meant she was playing catch-up as the season started in finding form and suitable races.

It was a last chance attempt at the qualifying standard and coupled with perfect racing conditions in a less pressured environment she ran a personal best, being six one hundredths inside the tough entry standard.

Her previous experience of high class competition came when she represented Great Britain for the first time last summer when she was selected for the European Junior Championships in Rieti, Italy, where she made the semi-final of the junior women’s 400m hurdles in a personal best time.

In Eugene, she will have just over a week to acclimatize and continue her preparations before the Championships get underway.

A club spokesperson said: “Jess is a thoroughly AVEAC home grown athlete, having been with the club since she was eight years old, taking part in sportshall, cross country, and most of the track and field disciplines along the way. She is now based at Loughborough University for her training but she can still often be seen at the Ilkeston track doing her track sessions.

“She is the first AVEAC athlete to ever reach a World Championships.”

Meanwhile, Jess and AVEAC teammate David Feeney, 26, competed in the prestigious Sainburys British Championships at the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham.

Only selected athletes from across the country are invited to compete. Both have attended in previous years but a first for both came when their races were featured live on BBC2’s afternoon coverage.

Both athletes were introduced to the crowd and on Steve Cram’s TV commentary. David finished fifth in his highly competitive heat of the mens 110m hurdles. Jessica made it through to the final of the womens 400m hurdles where she was drawn next to Olympic athlete and Glasgow 2014 cover-girl Eilidh Child and did herself justice in finishing sixth.