For the the next 16 months, James Turner will be working towards a childhood dream—competing for Canada at the Olympic Summer Games.
Based on the 21-year-old decathlete’s start to the 2015 season, the Kelowna product may well be on track to challenge for a spot on Canada’s team in Rio.
Turner, who attends the University of Toronto, won both the Ontario University Athletics and Canadian Interuniversity Sport pentathlon (five events) titles this spring.
Then earlier this month, Turner won the goal medal in decathlon (10 events) at the Mt. SAC Relays at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California.
Turner set a new personal best in process, compiling 7,773 points to finish 86 points ahead of his nearest competitor.
Turner finished second in the 100m, third in discus and javelin, fourth in the long jump and 110m hurdles, fifth in the 1500m, sixth in the 400m, eighth in the high jump, 10th in the shot put and 11th in the pole vault.
“It was good, I was really happy with the opener,” said Turner. “I was pleased to see where I’m at, I know what I need to improve on. Four events could have been better and I know I can improve in all of them.”
Because his performance was aided by too much wind, it wasn’t enough to qualify Turner for the FISU (world university) championships this summer in South Korea. He’ll have another chance to qualify in two weeks time at a meet in London, Ont.
If Turner doesn’t make the grade for FISU, then competing at the Pan American Games this summer in Toronto is also an option.
And while it may be a bit of a longshot, Turner said the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August is another major event on the wish-list.
“You need 8,075 points to qualify for worlds,” said Turner, the defending Canadian senior men’s decathlon champ and a two-time national junior champ. “I’m still quite a ways off that, but you never know.”
In the bigger picture, Turner said whatever meets he competes in over the next year-plus will be a prelude to the Olympic Games in Brazil. The qualification criteria for Rio is 8,100 points, a number Turner will have until June 2016 to attain, culminating with the Canadian combined events championships.
“A lot of what I’m doing is in preparation for trying to get to (the Olympics),” Turner said. “We’ll see how things go and I’ll just keep building for that. I feel like I’m starting to put things together and am getting a little closer all the time.”