TWO of Wiltshire’s leading young athletes have been invited to take part in the British Senior Indoor Championships in Birmingham this weekend, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

Trowbridge high jumper Tom Gale, aged 19, and 17-year-old Staverton multi-eventer Jenna Blundell will be in action at the premier event of the winter, although Gale is hoping it will be a stepping stone to an even bigger prize.

Gale explained: “I am looking to make the podium and also achieve the qualifying standard of 2.26m for the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow next month.

“It would be great to win my first senior GB vest and would be another step forward after last year.

“I felt like I was a little big stagnant in 2018, but that is the game, really. But this winter, I have trained really well, so hopefully that will pay off this weekend.”

Gale will head to Birmingham with his spirits high after opening his season with an indoor best of 2.23m at the Hustopece meeting in the Czech Republic two weeks ago.

That equalled his best height of 2018 and immediately lifted him to second in the latest UK rankings behind rival Chris Baker, who jumped 2.26m at the same meeting.

“Chris will also be in Birmingham, so it should be a good competition. Hopefully we can push each other to both going over 2.26m and get selected for Glasgow,” added Gale.

“It would be nice to get that height in Birmingham this weekend.”

Gale had been due to compete again last weekend but a slight calf niggle meant he opted out to ensure he is in top shape for the national championships, in which he finished fifth last year.

In contrast Blundell, who is a former student at St Laurence School in Bradford on Avon, will be competing at her first senior championships, looking to continue what has been an amazing start to 2019.

Only last month, Blundell made her debut for GB at the combined events international match in Cardiff, a reward for finishing third in the U20 women’s pentathlon at the England Athletics Combined Events Indoor Championships at the start of the year.

Then on Sunday, Blundell bettered her personal best for the 60m hurdles for the second time in seven days with a time of 8.66secs in Eton – to go joint third on the UK U20 rankings – and it is in that event for which she has been invited to compete at the national championships.

“It was a PB by 0.01secs so I am happy," said Blundell.

“I was also very happy with my GB debut the week before and helping the girls win team gold as well. It was an awesome experience for me and I learned so much about each event and I took a lot of positives out of the meeting.”

For Blundell, this weekend will be more about the experience of competing alongside the best senior athletes in the country, so her ambitions will be focussed on doing herself justice and improving that PB again.

But that is not to say Blundell doesn’t have one eye already on the bigger picture over the coming months.

“I am hoping to qualify for the European Junior Championships in Sweden this summer,” added Blundell.

“To get selection for the heptathlon will be tough as there are some very good girls about in my age group, so I will also be looking to run the qualification time for the 100m hurdles as well.

“That is why doing well in the 60m hurdles is important. So far this winter, that has gone well for me.”