Turner has 'nothing to lose' in hunt for Super League contract
JERSEYMAN Ollie Turner has committed to take every risk possible to seal his Super League Triathlon 'golden ticket'.
The teenager attended both qualifying events for the million dollar franchise's elite series this summer, chasing one of ten spots on the 2018/19 Championship roster, but after the second meeting was cancelled an opportunity arose to race on home turf this weekend.
Super League officials have invited all of those who attended the wildfire-hit Penticton qualifier to Jersey to compete alongside the professionals, with the top five amateurs due to be added to the full-time ranks for subsequent races in Malta, Mallorca, Singapore and Australia.
Turner finished seventh at the opening qualifier in Poland – fifth place would have earned him a season-long contract.
'I'll be taking every risk under the sun because I've got absolutely nothing to lose,' said the 19-year-old.
'Some of the others might be thinking about holding back because they're racing again in Malta in three weeks, but I’m going to go for it.
'Obviously I'm going to get loads of experience out of it, but I'm not going into it for the experience – there's one thing I'm aiming for and that's a golden ticket. I'm lucky because the race is in Jersey, but I'm going into it like I'm racing anywhere in the world – I want to qualify.
'Usually when I race in Jersey it's a case of "big fish, small pond", but now I'm a small fish in a big pond in my own Island, which is weird.'
The 2018 Commonwealth Games athlete knows little about the nine qualifiers he must beat in a 'race within a race' on Saturday and Sunday, but holds reserved belief that he could finish ahead of at least four of them.
'There are lots of ironman long-course guys in there, so I'm hoping they will struggle on the short, sharp stuff,' he said.
'In Penticton during the cycling time trial they all shined, because cycling is so important in long distance triathlon, but I don't know how they swim or run.
'I have an advantage because I know the course and I've practiced on it god knows how many times. I was down there every day before I went to university – it's a home course and there's a home crowd which I'm hoping will play a big part, but I don't know how it will pan out because I've never seen the other qualifiers race before.
'If I can swim well and get into the lead pack for the bike I'll then be relying on the pack getting round to lap some of the others. My bike will be my biggest strength and I'm hoping it will help me, but the course is short so the advantage I'm going to get is minimal. 'Who knows what will happen.'
Turner failed to finish at the ETU European Cup in Turkey last weekend after struggling with illness, but still drew confidence from the outing.
'I couldn’t run ... I just wanted to keel over,' he explained.
'Before that I was going so well, I was front pack for the swim and front pack for the bike, so if I can take any positives from it it's that I know I can swim and bike with the best in Europe. I just don't know about the run yet.
'I felt pretty solid and that gives me confidence going into this weekend. I'm feeling good and I can’t wait to race now.'