TROWBRIDGE high jumper Tom Gale has nothing but a medal on his mind after being selected for the European Junior Championships in Italy next month.

Having already secured the qualifying height of 2.16m with a 2.22m clearance earlier this season, Gale rubber-stamped his selection by winning the trials incorporated into the England Championships in Bedford last week.

Gale started clear favourite after improving his best to 2.22m earlier this season to strengthen his position as the UK number one and despite being pushed by closest rival Joel Khan, from Worcester, a jump of 2.18m, the same height he managed when finishing ninth in the World Junior Championships last year, got the job done.

After learning he had been chosen, the 18-year-old admits that had been the expectation of him since the start of the season, and he is now aiming for another personal best at the competition in Grosetto, which runs from from July 1-2.

“It’s been a big expectation since the beginning of the year, going in with the highest PB and being quite far ahead of the field,” said the John of Gaunt School student, who was named senior male athlete of the year at last week’s Wiltshire Athletics Association awards.

“I would like to go into the championships with the highest PB, but even if I don’t, I know that based on how I am feeling and how I am jumping, I’m definitely in PB shape.

“So I’m going in confident that I can, at the very least, medal and hopefully I can walk out with the gold.

“I know I have put in the work. I know that I have turned up every week and put in all the effort I can, so I am as prepared as I can be.”

This season, the youngster has been working on his technique and, after winning the U20 men’s high jump with a clearance of 2.18m, the national indoor and outdoor champion says he is enjoying himself more than ever.

“The main thing I have been working on at the moment is the run-up because before, it was very inconsistent,” said Gale. “I was dropping a lot so I was putting myself in a weaker position to actually take off from, so we have been working on that.

“Although it’s not where I want it to be, I am happy with the progress I have made.

“I came out of the World Junior Championships (in Bydgoszcz, Poland, last summer) with ninth place but for a time, I was almost dissatisfied with it because I know I am better.

“It has taken a while for me to learn to appreciate just how well I am doing. It’s the appreciation in my performances which is making me enjoy it more.”