TOM Gale can start planning for the Tokyo Olympics after taking a giant stride towards securing his place in the Great Britain team.

The 21-year-old from Trowbridge isn’t in the team yet, of course, but having achieved the qualifying standard set by UK Athletics he has put himself in a strong position.

Gale cleared 2.33m in Hustopece, in the Czech Republic, on Saturday evening to make it three wins out of three this year as he again beat a top class field for the second time in a week after enjoying a similar success in Trineke the previous weekend.

On that occasion he matched his 2017 personal best of 2.30m. Now he has comprehensively eclipsed that and, at the same time, moved to sixth on the UK all-time lists.

No wonder that Gale, who will be back in Britain this weekend to compete at the UK Indoor Championships in Glasgow, was delighted with the way 2020 has gone so far.

“I am massively happy to achieve the Olympic Games qualifying standard of 2.33m,” he said.

“It has taken off some of the pressure but it doesn’t exclude me from having to take part in the Olympic trials.

“But having jumped 2.33m that gives me a lot more freedom and options this summer. It should definitely help me get into more Diamond League meetings if I want to.”

That is all to come and for the moment Gale and coach Denis Doyle can enjoy a fantastic start to the year which has lifted Gale up another level. Not that he is taking anything for granted and Gale has already analysed areas in which he can still improve.

“Moving forward there is definitely more to come as I struggled technically out there,” added Gale.

“Hustopece is a fantastic track for taking off but it is also very bouncy so I had trouble with my getting my approach right. It was technically a very challenging competition so I know I can do better.”

At 21, time is on Gale’s side to make those improvements.

But for the moment it is worth noting that of the five men ahead of him in the all-time lists, three won Olympic medals – Steve Smith bronze in 1996, Robbie Grabarz bronze in 2010 and Germaine Mason silver in 2008.

Dalton Grant meanwhile finished seventh in the 1988 Olympics.

Gale is now moving into some pretty lofty circles but surely his best years are still ahead of him.

“I am happy with 2.33m but it is not where I want to finish up,” said Gale.

“I am striving for more and whether that will eventually be 2.38m or 2.40m, who knows?”