ISLAND triathlete Ollie Turner says his first international top ten blows 2022 ‘out of the water.’
The Commonwealth Games athlete finished sixth in the Africa Triathlon Premium Cup, in a field laden with the world’s top 100.
Travelling with fellow Team GB member Iestyn Harrett, Turner’s goal for trip was to accumulate 200 world-ranking points across the two races.
He has already secured 178 from the South African race, which should send him 100 places up the rankings, inside the world’s 250.
After a breakout campaign last year, Turner said the fledgling stages of 2023 have been better than he could have imagined.
‘With around one kilometre to go, I was in a three way fight for a podium,’ said the 24-year-old, who is due to compete in Namibia this Saturday.
‘My goal was a top ten, so I was blown away to be involved in a running race for the top spots.
‘Everyone who finished ahead of me is ranked within the top 50 in the world, so I’m really chuffed with sixth.
‘I have never been known as a runner, but my ability has steadily increased over the last year. I’m now giving myself the opportunity to fight for places above what I knew I was capable of. There were a couple rookie errors in there for not knowing what to do in that situation, but just to have that feeling made me really stoked.’
Turner, who is supported by Hawk Group, was among many of the European elite making the pilgrimage to Africa for the two-stage swing of the Continental Cup.
The field for both the events are said to be the strongest ever assembled for the African stage of the cup.
The Caesarean, who finished 15th at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, is keen to race at a step above where he currently performs, but is fully aware that ranking points are not easy to come by.
He said: ‘I have some big goals and aspirations in terms of competitions at the back end of the year. For that you need to rack up a fair bit of ranking points to get there and it seems like most of the top competitors in Europe have had the same idea. It was the most stacked African Cup race that we have seen and a similar field is likely for the Namibia race on Saturday.
‘What is important is to kick on from here and ignore my initial target of 200 points. South Africa has proved that I can do it and mix it with these top triathletes and now is the time to continue learning and improving with my running to fight towards the podium places.’
There is a beautiful symmetry to Turner’s journey to Africa to forge his way up the rankings in his own discipline, as Jersey’s male cricketers are doing the same this weekend. They begin their latest World Cup qualification campaign in Windhoek, Namibia, on Monday.