Morpeth cyclist has his eyes on Paris Olympics and is learning from a seven-time Olympian

Hamish Turnbull in action at the 2022 European Championships. Picture: ReutersHamish Turnbull in action at the 2022 European Championships. Picture: Reuters
Hamish Turnbull in action at the 2022 European Championships. Picture: Reuters
A Morpeth cyclist hopes to conjure Olympic magic now he’s used to being coached by the greatest track cyclist of all time.

Hamish Turnbull stepped onto the GB senior sprint squad just weeks before it was taken over by seven-time Olympic champion Sir Jason Kenny.

Turnbull’s sporting journey is now intertwined with Britain’s greatest Olympian, who called time on his career after the Tokyo Games.

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“At first, it was super intimidating,” said the 23-year-old. “Trying to live up to what Jason did is almost impossible for anyone.

“But to be honest, it probably drags more out of all of us because when your coach is the greatest of all time, you put everything in to try to at least match that.

“It’s tough, but all you can do is try and we’ve built a really good team.”

“Jason and I are learning together,” Turnbull continued. “The other boys knew him as a team-mate, not just as a coach, which means it’s a different dynamic but we’ve started our journeys together.”

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Turnbull is one of more than 1,000 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing him to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering medical support – this is vital for his pathway to the Paris 2024 Games.

Since his big-stage debut at last summer’s Commonwealth Games, Turnbull has taken bronze at the World Championships and two European medals.

Team GB have won Olympic medals in men’s sprint events at every Games stretching back to Sydney 2000, but their dominance has been challenged by fearsome Dutch and Australian teams.

“For me, we just need to try new things,” said Turnbull. “What we’ve been doing in the past worked great, from Beijing 2008 onwards, but the old way wasn’t working any more.

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“That’s testament to the way other countries have stepped up. We’ve made some pretty drastic technical and physical changes in the way we approach sprinting and to the philosophy behind the training.

“We’re going to have a good challenge now which is great for the sport as a whole. In the past, we’ve always had one standout nation in team sprint, now we have seven or eight.”

Turnbull is already eyeing up a rivalry with next summer’s Olympic hosts France, who won bronze behind the Brits at the most recent European Championships.

“At the moment, I’d consider us to be the best of the rest with the French and the Japanese,” he said.

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“We need to stay ahead of them and close the gap to the two team sprint superpowers at the minute. It’s going to be tough, especially with the Olympics being in France next year.

“When it’s a home Games, everything comes out so we’ll need to throw everything at it to stay ahead of them. I’m confident we can do it.”

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