The final push to Rio is on for James Turner.
Over the next six weeks, the 22-year-old from Kelowna hopes to chase down the Olympic standard in the men’s decathlon.
In the 10-event discipline, Turner needs to compile 8,100 points or more, as well as rank among the top three athletes in Canada to qualify for the Brazil games.
Last month in California, Turner took another big step in the right direction with a personal best of 7,776 points at the Mt. SAC combined events meet.
The performance included PBs in both the pole vault and long jump and gave the KSS grad an added boost of confidence as he aims for his first trip to the Olympic Games.
“I feel great,” said Turner, who recently completed his fourth and final year at the University of Toronto. “I’m as fast as I’ve ever been, as explosive as I’ve ever been, now I just have to get competitive ready.
“I’ve got some little meets here and there to get my fitness back, and focus on those two things. I feel confident and very excited.”
Turner, who capped off his university career by winning the CIS men’s decathlon title in March, has been training this spring in Kelowna with the Okanagan Athletics Club, coach Pat Sima-Ledding, and his brother, Rostam Turner.
Turner said the amenities of home are providing the ideal setting for his training and preparation, both mentally and physically.
“I always have access to this facility (Apple Bowl) and can train here pretty much anytime I want…I have home-cooked meals, it’s a pretty nice situation,” said Turner. “Rostam and I train together a lot, Pat is at most sessions, so that’s great for me. It’s a great environment for me to be in, hard to beat.
“My massage therapist, Rory Switzer, has been helping me a ton and keeping me healthy,” he added.
Turner is hoping to peak for June 17 to 19 when he and Rostam compete in decathlon at the Canadian Combined Events Championships in Ottawa.
If Turner doesn’t reach the Olympic standard next month, he’ll have one more chance at a meet in France in early July.
Still, as much as Rio represents a lifelong goal for Turner, he’s focusing more on the process and less on the desired end result.
“I’m not even thinking about Rio, really,” said Turner, the 2014 Canadian senior men’s decathlon champ. “I’m just trying to put together the best score possible and let things take care of themselves.”
Turner is one of several local athletes who train with the Okanagan Athletics Club’s high-performance stream. Due to high cost of travel for these athletes, the OAC is in the process of raising funds to support them.
To be a donor or for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To assist James Turner, visit trackieprofile.com/p/jamesturner.