JACK Turner has vowed to keep improving after claiming his biggest success to date, a gold medal at the Under-20 Indoor Combined Events in Cardiff.

The Wellington School Sixth Former, aged 17, competed in the Heptathlon (seven events over two days) and achieved lifetime bests in 60m sprint (7.17s), long jump (7.06m), shot (12.58m), 60m hurdles (8.05s), pole vault (4.15m) and an equal PB in the final event, the 1000m.

His score of 5,430 points gave him his first GB gold medal, ahead of athletes from Spain, France, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Turner began athletics when he was in Year 5 at St Peter’s Prep School, Lympstone, and he earned his first county selection in Year 7.

Now he trains five days a week, for up to 12 hours a day – in the gym at Wellington School, in Exeter and in Cardiff with Francis Baker.

Baker is an ex-GB international himself, and has focused on improving Turner’s pole vault performance.

Turner’s other coach, Kevin Skinner, has been with him from the start, offering vital guidance and encouragement to reach this point.

Turner is grateful for the support of Wellington School, too, as he explains: “They’ve been really helpful, especially with strength and conditioning in the gym.

“They’ve been really understanding when I’ve had competitions, and some came up to Cardiff to watch me, which was great.”

Turner’s win in Cardiff was all the more impressive given his age, three years younger than some of his fellow competitors.

“At the Europeans [European Athletics U18 Championships] the year before, I was just happy to be there,” he said.

“Here I knew I could medal, going into it ranked third; I learned so much, and the win was a great boost to my confidence.

“This is definitely my biggest win so far.

“It was a surprise to realise I was winning after the shot put, but when I was still top after the hurdles it really kicked in.”

Turner now looks ahead to the single event nationals in Sheffield in March (competing in high jump, long jump and hurdles), and outdoor qualifiers in April.

He wants to remain a multi-eventer, rather than specialise in one discipline, but his focus is on steady progress, not the Olympic dream.

“Initially I didn’t have an end goal, like the Olympics, but now I’m starting to win more.

“I’m on the Commonwealth Games pathway, but I just want to get better.

“I want to keep improving, and see how far I can go.”