TOM Gale’s Olympic ambitions have been given a timely boost as he has been retained his funding support from British Athletics in the lead-up to the 2020 Games in Tokyo, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

The Trowbridge international high jumper was this week named among a select group of 29 athletes chosen for the Olympic Podium Potential programme, which is the next level down from the elite Olympic Podium category.

It means that Gale, who will end 2019 as second in the UK rankings, will continue to receive not only financial support but also comprehensive medical assistance ahead of what could be the biggest year of his career so far.

“This is the third successive year I have received funding and I am very grateful to British Athletics for their continued support,” said Gale.

“I had a good summer this year, so I would have been disappointed had I not received backing again but regardless of that I am still very gratified that I have been selected again.”

Still only 20, Gale can certainly take great encouragement from a summer in which he won a silver medal at the European U23s Championships with a season’s best of 2.27m,, which was his best jump for two years and lifts him into the top 30 in the new World Athletics points rankings.

“That is very exciting as that shows I have got strong potential for the Olympics next year,” added Gale.

“Training is going really well at the moment and I am feeling in very good nick. I have recovered 100 per cent from the ankle problem I had in the summer and while I still have a slight issue with my knee that is also a lot better and we are managing it well.

“I am really looking forward to next year.”

Gale plans to compete indoors but will focus primarily on smaller meetings in Cardiff where he can work closely with his coach Denis Doyle, who is based in the Wales capital.

Then he will return to Tenerife for a winter training camp in the sun before opening his outdoor season which, if all goes well, will end in selection for the Olympic Games in Japan.

Trowbridge sprinter Danny Talbot will also receive funding in the lead up to Tokyo 2020 as part of the Olympic Relays programme.