WILTSHIRE Olympian Tom Gale has spoken of the huge confidence boost he received when learning that he has retained his place on the British Athletics Olympic World Class Programme for 2021/22.

The Great Britain international high jumper from Trowbridge is one of an elite group of 67 athletes – with only three from the West Country - selected to receive funding and technical support for the coming year.

Gale was named in the 26-stong group of Olympic Podium Potential athletes as a reward for his success in reaching the final of the high jump at the Olympics in Tokyo during the summer.

“I’m incredibly grateful to be on the WCP for another year,” said Gale. “The support they provide in the form of physio, nutrition and psychology has been a huge factor in my recent performance and development.

“To have British/UK Athletics believe that I can go and win a medal at the 2024 or 2028 Olympics is a big confidence boost going forward.”

Gale cleared a season’s best of 2.28m to qualify and then jumped 2.27m to secure 11th place in the final. He also won his first British senior title outdoors at Manchester in June, one of just three competitions he entered in 2021 due to on-going problems with his ankle.

“As we start the Paris cycle, and longer-term Los Angeles 2028, we made a number of informed decisions in regard to the World Class Programme membership that aligns with our strategic priorities,” said British Athletics Performance Director, Sara Symington.

“We will work closely with the 67 athlete and coach pairings that we are offering membership to and will look to add support and value in their journey via their individual athlete plan (IAP).

“The selection process is robust and lengthy, and we use a lot of data which is complemented by the knowledge of our event leads to inform the decision-making process. We have given careful consideration to those athletes who meet the selection criteria and performance matrix which align to the future ambitions of the WCP.”

Gale took a break after the Olympics but is now back in serious training as he prepares for a hectic 2022, with the World Championships in Oregon, America, the European Championships in Munich, plus the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham all on his schedule.