AS FAR as British international sprinter Danny Talbot is concerned, the new year cannot come soon enough.

The Trowbridge athlete will be only too happy to wave goodbye to 2018 after suffering the worst year of his athletics career so far.

Indeed, it was so bad that Talbot did not compete at all as the recovery from two ankle operations left the Olympian watching from the stands as the Commonwealth Games and European Championships came and went without him.

It was the quietest year that the 27-year-old has endured since he took up sprinting 13 years ago, so it is little wonder that he won’t be wasting any time reminiscing and has set his sights firmly on the future – especially with the 2019 World Championships and 2020 Tokyo Olympics on his radar.

“It has been a really difficult year for me,” said former St Augustine’s pupil Talbot.

“In some ways, I was happy that if I was to miss a season then one without any global championships was preferable, but I didn’t realise how hard it would be to.

“Competitions go on without you and guys are out there running fast times and winning medals. The sport moves on, so I know I have some catching up to do.”

The good news is that Talbot is now back in full training at his base in Loughborough and is suffering no problems with his ankle – in what was his first serious injury since he became a professional athlete.

And while no athlete wants to miss an entire season, the irrepressible Talbot is determined to take positives out of a bad year.

“I wouldn’t say it was an enjoyable experience, but I have learned a lot about myself and the people around me,” added Talbot.

“I am determined to take some positives out of all the negative stuff and it only made me realise even more how much I love the sport as I missed it so much.

“What I have gone through can only make me stronger, physically and mentally and I realise it even more that athletics is the most important thing in my life at the moment.”

While Talbot has been on the side lines, he has not been forgotten by the UK Athletics chiefs as he has kept his place on the relay funding scheme – ensuring he can focus his energies on winning back his place in the team and also regaining his place as one the country’s premier 200m sprinters.

“My last competition was winning the relay gold at the World Championships in London in 2017, so I don’t think I have been forgotten,” said Talbot.

“I still aspire to be the Olympic champion at 200m and I can appreciate that even more now. I’ve been back in full training for six weeks now and I feel I am back to normal.

“2018 was like having a year out for me and as much as I learned stuff about myself, I cannot wait to get racing again in 2019. The new season cannot come quickly enough.”

A new year and a new start. That is Talbot’s wish for 2019.