TEAM Bath athlete Tom Gale has qualified for the final of the high jump at the Tokyo Olympics.
Competing in the qualifiers this morning Gale (pictured) squeezed into the final 12 – even though he was only 13th best among the contenders in the two pools.
The pre-qualifying criteria for making the final was to either clear 2.30m – or finishing in the top 12 – but Gale finished 13th with 2.28m and initially looked like he was bowing out on his Olympic Games debut.
Gale, who lives in Trowbridge, cleared 2.17m and 2.21m at the first attempt and then 2.25m at the second. But, he failed with his first two attempts at a season’s best of 2.28m before finally clearing it on his final jump.
No-one wanted to go up to 2.30m to eliminate just one athlete so after discussion the judges opted to go for a 13-man final – and Gale was handed that lifeline.
“I feel amazing,” said Gale.
“I’ve missed a significant amount of technical work, which is why today I was a little bit inconsistent and frustrated to be second and third attempt in the last two heights.
“I think I just got to the end and the image which came to my mind was one of my dad sat in front of the TV, heart rate at like 210, and my mum curled up in a ball watching away from the TV sat right next to him. I was like ‘I can’t let them down’.
“I believe in myself, my knee’s a bit uncomfortable so I’ll get that addressed by the physios, and if I get to 100 per cent I still believe in myself to get a medal.”
Another west athlete in action today was Phil Norman of North Devon AC but he bowed out of the heats of the 3000m steeplechase. Bristol & West AC’s Emily Diamond is in the GB 4x400m women’s relay squad.