TOM Gale couldn’t have asked for a better start to 2020 than to break the stadium record at the Welsh Athletics Senior Indoor Championships.

The 21-year-old international high jumper from Trowbridge is too experienced, even at his tender age, to interpret his success as an omen for a year that will culminate with the Olympics in Tokyo.

But to clear 2.28m in his opening competition, an indoor personal best and his best jump since his lifetime best of 2.30m in July 2017, represents a ringing endorsement of the training he is doing under coach Denis Doyle.

“It is less an omen and more a signal of all the hard work I have been doing in training,” said Gale.

“Obviously I am really happy and I definitely feel there is more to come, whether it is in the indoor season or outdoors. I am very confident about that.”

The leap shot Gale to the top of the UK Rankings but that is of little significance at this stage of such an important year. For Gale the most significant factors are that after a difficult, but not entirely unsuccessful 2019, he is healthy, training well and relishing the year ahead.

“My ankle is now 100 per cent and hasn’t been a problem for quite a few months now,” added Gale.

“The only problem I have is managing my knee as that is a bit dodgy but I know what I have to do to look after it and keep it warm during competitions.”

Which is why Gale would have felt a little nervous in Cardiff on Saturday as the high jump competition went on for a few hours and meant he was hanging around a lot in-between jumps.

“To be honest I was incredibly tired on Saturday,” admitted Gale.

“I had intended to open my competition at 2.16, but the event had been on for an hour 10minutes before we even got to that point so I took a jump at 2.06m to get a bit of rhythm going.

“I the end the competition went on so long the organisers’ had to delay the start of the sprint hurdles and I felt a bit guilty about that.”

I am pretty sure his fellow athletes wouldn’t have minded as they watched Gale soar over the world class height of 2.28m to break the stadium record by one centimetre.

Having opened with that height Gale now feels the Olympic qualifying height of 2.33m is within reach and, all being well, he will have a stab at that this weekend (Sunday, February 2) when he travels to the Czech Republic for a big competition in Trance.

“The meeting is held in an ice hockey stadium and there is a great atmosphere,” said Gale.

“I will then go back to Czech Republic the following week to compete in Hustopece before the British Indoor Championships (Feb 22-23).”

Early days, definitely, but Gale has a spring in his step for sure.