Interview: Team England athlete Andy Turner

Team England hurdler and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Andy Turner speaks to Sports Mole about his chances in this summer's Games in Glasgow.

As far as the Commonwealth Games are concerned, there aren't many members of Team England's athletics squad that are more experienced than Andy Turner.

The 33-year-old already has two medals to his name in the event, picking up a bronze in Melbourne eight years ago before winning 110m hurdle gold in Delhi in 2010.

He returns to the Games for a third time this summer as defending champion, and Sports Mole caught up with him ahead of the competition in Glasgow.

Andy Turner competing in the men's 110m hurdles on June 29, 2014© Getty Images

There is less than a week now before the start of the Games. How are you feeling about them?

"I'm starting to get excited now. Most of the team is here, all training with the team and it's starting to feel like it's really happening now. Even when you know it's coming up but you're still at home, it's just a championship, but when you're here, being involved, it makes it more exciting."

You go to Glasgow as the gold medallist in your event from four years ago. Does that put more pressure on you this time around?

"I'd say no. I am the reigning champion, but I'm just going there to enjoy myself. The level has really stepped up since I won it in Delhi. There have been some really good performances this year so I'm not going in as a favourite like I was in Delhi.

"With all the problems I've had in the last couple of years I'm very grateful to be at the Championships, so I'm just going to go and give it everything I've got. But it's more to enjoy myself because it may be the last chance and the last year I'll be able to."

What is your minimum target going into the Games?

"It's the same as everyone really, I'm going in to make the final. That is the first and foremost – make the final. Once you get to the final you can go on and challenge for the medals, and I want to get a medal.

"I won the bronze eight years ago and the gold four years ago, so it would be nice to carry on the tradition of winning a medal, but first and foremost would be to make that final."

Andy Turner on June 24, 2012© Getty Images

As an athlete you are ultimately judged on medals, but would you be satisfied with a personal best even if you missed out on the top three?

"That's a hard one to answer. Everybody wants to win a medal, but I suppose if you run your best-ever race and you don't quite win a medal then it just wasn't meant to be. I suppose if I did run a PB but missed out on a medal then I couldn't be too upset as I would have done the best I could, but it wasn't good enough on the day."

Having participated in the last two Games, in Melbourne and Delhi, how big a difference do you think being so close to home this time around will make?

"I think it's going to be like a miniature London Olympics. Obviously we're not the home nation – Scotland are – but I think we're going to be received really well.

"I'm confident it's going to be noisy in the stadium when the England athletes come out – not as big as for the Scottish athletes – but I think it's going to have the same feel as the London Games, just on a slightly smaller scale

"When you know you've got the backing of the crowd and the crowd want to see you do well, you want to give them something to cheer about as well. There is no better feeling than winning a race in front of your home fans, and giving them something to cheer about. Every athlete wants to do that."

You mentioned the London Olympics there. Do you think that the success of those Games is still being felt today?

"I think so. I think athletics is still fresh in people's memories. A lot more people got interested and excited about athletics, and I think this is another opportunity to get behind the home nations.

"I think it's going to be a really good buzz, it will be watched by a lot of people on TV, and I think it will be a complete sell-out as well so it's going to be a fantastic Games."

Andy Turner competing in the men's 110m hurdles on August 8, 2012© Getty Images

One thing that makes the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games stand out is the fact that you will be staying in the Athletes' Village, rubbing shoulders with athletes from different countries and sports. Is that something you relish going into events like this?

"Yeah it's cool because a lot of championships you go to is just athletics – the same people, the same faces from different countries that you see on the circuit week in, week out. When you go to a multi-sport competition it is just a completely different buzz.

"I love watching gymnastics and boxing and things like that, so it's amazing for other sports to get behind each other – regardless of what sport it is, if you're wearing the England vest then everyone gets behind you. There's a really good feel around the village. It's cool."

Once you get there, will you be trying to experience other sports or is your mind set solely on your race?

"Well, once I've finished competing I think I've got four days before the Games finish, so I'm going to try to get to every single different sport I can possibly get to.

"I've made a lot of different friends from different sports over the years competing for Team GB, so it will be really good to get into the crowd and see their performances. Just really get involved because you're a fan as opposed to an athlete when you've finished competing."

How about Team England as a whole? You won one of their seven athletics golds last time in Delhi - what is the target this time around?

"Each time we want to do better than last time. I think we've got a good strong team with loads of opportunities for medals. I think we'll definitely win more medals [than Delhi]. I think, because of London, the standard from the board is now higher and our athletes have stepped up as well. So I think it could be a very medal-productive Games for us."

Follow the Commonwealth Games with Sports Mole from July 23 until August 3.

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