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IN the season that just keeps giving, Trowbridge junior international high jumper Tom Gale hit a magnificent new height at the European Junior Championships in Italy.

In what turned out to be the most competitive high jump competition in the event’s history, Gale improved his personal best three times as he soared to 2.28m.

In most years that would have been good enough to win Gale the gold – and would have secured him the World Juniors title 12 months ago – however, this time around he had to settle for the bronze medal.

It was the John of Gaunt School student first international medal and his new best lifted him to second on the UK All-Time Under 20 Lists, second on the World U20 Rankings and equal second on the UK Senior Men’s Rankings.

“I went into the competition ranked second and I came third so while it’s not gold but god it feels like it,” said Gale.

“I have tremendous respect for the other two athletes, and whilst I walked in thinking I’d be disappointed with anything but gold, I’m leaving feeling so good.

“It was an awesome competition and to be honest it still hasn’t hit me that I jumped 2.28m.”

Gale entered the competition on Saturday evening in Grosetto, Tuscany, at 2.05m and cleared all the heights on first attempts all the way up to, and including, 2.24m - which beat his recent PB of 2.23m – to guarantee him a medal.

He then needed two attempts at both 2.26m and 2.28m before finally failing at 2.30m.

Dmytro Nikitin also cleared 2.28m on his first and only attempt while Gale needed two attempts with Ukrainian claiming the silver medal on countback.

The champion was favourite Maksim Nedasekau of Belarus, whose clearance of 2.33m ended the oldest records on the books at the championships.

“I have massive respect for those other guys and the new champion is an incredible talent to clear 2.33m,” added Gale.

“Any frustration I might have had was brushed aside by the three PBs in the last few weeks and moving to second in the UK All-Time List and the senior rankings.

“I am very happy with what I have done and where I am at the moment.”