Sheffield athletics: Luke is confident

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SHEFFIELD pole vaulter Luke Cutts is confident of using home surroundings to his advantage at this weekend’s Sainsbury’s British Indoor Championships as he steps up his bid for European success.

The 27-year-old will be aiming to defend his British indoor title when he makes the short trip to Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport for the two-day event.

His 2014 success came just a month after he broke the 12-year-old British indoor record when he cleared 5.83m while last summer he won his first senior international medal when he claimed silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Cutts returned to the Scottish city last month for the British Athletics International Match, clearing 5.40m for second-place.

And the Dearne ALC athlete, who will come up against training partner and British junior record holder Adam Hague in Sheffield, is confident he can push the bar even higher in Sunday’s competition as he chases a spot on the Great Britain team for next month’s European Indoor Championships in Prague.

“I’ve been training pretty well recently with my partner Adam Hague. I’ve jumped a couple of 5.50s and hopefully I can hit that 5.70m this weekend,” said Cutts, who was speaking to promote Sainsbury’s long-term support of British Athletics from grassroots to elite level.

“My main aims this season are to go to the European Indoor Championships and hopefully medal there and qualify for the World Championships then we’ll see about jumping another British record.

“I’ve got some pretty good memories of this stadium. I won my first senior medal when I was 16, so I’ve competed here a lot plus I train here most days.

“It’s my home ground so I’m confident going into the competition. It would be fantastic if me and Adam were to finish on the podium.”

It promises to be a fascinating battle between the two training partners with Cutts tipping Hague to become the next senior British record holder in years to come.

The 17-year-old has been taking huge strides forward on the junior circuit and just last month set a new British junior record of 5.55m at the Vienna Indoor competition.

And Hague, who also took the Sainsbury’s School Games title in 2013, is adamant he is not just coming to make up the numbers.

“I’m really happy with how it’s gone this year. I’m really proud of what I’ve done and a lot of that is down to the work that I put in with Luke,” he said.

“I’ve learned so much from training with him. A lot of my vaulting ability has come from his help, he’s been there for everything. During competitions, even when he’s got major events, he’s always there to help me which I really appreciate.

“For this weekend in Sheffield I just want to prove a point that I’m not here for experience anymore. I want to come in and do well as I know that I can compete among the seniors.

“I have the European Junior Championships in the summer in Sweden so that is my main goal for the season.

“I feel like I’m ready for that big competition because of the Sainsbury’s School Games. It was really helpful to compete on that stage because it helps all the young athletes coming through the ranks to get valuable experience and prepares them for bigger competitions down the road.”

*Sainsbury’s is a proud partner of British Athletics. The partnership reflects Sainsbury’s wider commitment to inspiring healthy lifestyles for all, and complements grassroots campaigns such as Active Kids and the Sainsbury’s School Games. www.sainsburys.co.uk