WILTSHIRE athletics star Tom Gale couldn’t hide his sheer delight at being selected to represent Great Britain at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer

“I won the trials and I have the qualifying standard so the ticket is punched and I’m on my way!” purred Gale. “I have got my spot!”

The 22-year-old from Trowbridge went to the Muller British Championships, incorporating the Olympic Games trials, as the only high jumper with the qualifying standard of 2.33m.

That meant he just had to deliver victory to secure his place on the plane to Japan, and if that was an extra pressure on his young shoulders then Gale dealt with it calmly and efficiently as he comfortably beat his rivals to secure his sixth British title – but his first senior one outdoors.

“The trials was a good competition, and while I didn’t get the height I really wanted I got the job done and that was the most important thing,” added Gale.

“It was a little frustrating that I didn’t jump higher but I wasn’t in perfect shape to be honest. I have had a few niggles with my knee so training has had to be managed.

“Also, as soon as the other two guys failed at 2.24m and I knew I had then won and the adrenaline of competition was gone.”

While still only 22 it is worth recalling that apart from those six British titles, also comprising two and under 20 and under 23 level and one senior indoor success, Gale has also competed internationally for GB at the European Under 20 and Under 23 Championships, winning bronze and silver medals respectively.

Plus he finished ninth at the World Juniors and then made his senior international debut for England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.

That is an impressive CV already but reaching your first Olympic Games takes Gale to an extra level.

“It just feels so cool,” added Gale. “Yes, it has been a long time coming when you think that I did the qualifying of 2.33m 18 months ago (February 2020 on the indoor circuit).

“Fortunately, the wait is finally over and I am off to the Olympics. This will actually be my first senior championships for GB. I have had to bail out of a few before so this will be a great experience.

“And fingers crossed that at age 22 it will be the first of many – I might even get four Olympics in!

“But for now I’ll just try and enjoy my first and the goal when I am there will be to make the final. I know I am capable of that.”