JUST a week after watching the best high jumpers in the world as a spectator in the London Stadium, Tom Gale will see his heroes up really close as he takes them on in the Muller Diamond League Games in Birmingham on Sunday, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

The switch from fan to rival is yet another example of the remarkable rise of the 18-year-old from Trowbridge as he received a special invite to join a field that includes the top six from the final at the World Championships on Sunday evening.

The invite was fully justified after he recently won the England Athletics senior title, clearing a personal best of 2.30m, to go alongside his bronze from the European Junior Championships.

“It was great fun watching the high jump qualification and the final over the weekend and now I will competing against some of these guys in Birmingham on Sunday” said Gale.

“I have heard that (Mutaz Essa) Barshim (the new champion from Qatar) will be there, plus silver medallist (Danil) Lysenko and the Syrian (Majededdin) Ghazal (who won bronze) and the Mexican (Edgar) Rivera (fourth).

“Hopefully Robbie Grabarz (the current UK number one) will also take part but I know he was disappointed with his performance in London (he finished equal sixth) so we will have to see.”

From watching your heroes to taking them on just seven days later might be quite intimidating but the unflappable Gale – whose best of 2.30m this year would remarkably have got him on the London podium – is taking it all in his stride.

“It is not so much nerve-wracking as just a whole new experience for me and one that I can go and enjoy,” added Gale.

“I am very confident going into competitions and I am not one for getting star-struck.

“It will all be about how I prepare and execute my competition and if I have a good day and some of those don’t have a good day as maybe they won’t be taking it as seriously after the World Championships then we’ll see what happens.

“But I am really excited about the (Birmingham) meeting and can’t wait for it to come around.”