Pole vault star Luke Cutts is hoping for a strong 2017, but at 29 and after a series of injuries, he is facing a race against the clock to become British champion at the national Athletics Indoor Team Trials.
The Thurnscoe man, who represented GB at Rio for the 2016 Olympics, has been battling injury for years but is now back on track with his sights firmly set on a comeback at the EIS Sheffield for the British Trials.
The best of Britain will gather (11-12 February) as they compete for the honour of being crowned British Champion and battle for a place on the British team for the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade in March.
Cutts, who set his personal best of 5.83m in 2014, is confident of winning the event at the trials. Comparing his fitness levels to this time last year, the British indoor record holder said: “This time last season I’d jumped my first Olympic qualifying standard. But I’m in good shape and I’m keeping myself fit so I’m confident that I can win at trials.”
The 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medallist previously worked at a packing company and is now working as an engineer fitting vans at a company in Doncaster. He believes that a nine week break from serious training will not prove an issue.
“It probably won’t affect me because I’ve been doing this for 18 years and I haven’t had many breaks in the sport. Other people take two to three months off at the end of the season but I train straight through so I’m not really losing anything.”
Hundreds of the best athletes from across the country will be looking to get their 2017 season off to a good start at the Trials, an event that Cutts enjoys: “The British Trials have been here for 10 years or so and to jump in front of a home crowd is brilliant.”
Athletes will have the chance to qualify for the British Athletics team at the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade. However, Cutts has other targets for a busy couple of years in sport. “The European Indoors would be nice to qualify for but the British standard is quite high so I think I’m just going to concentrate on the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games. If I can jump 5.70 indoors I’ll be happy and then hopefully will be able to progress to the outdoor season. I’m capable of making the IAAF World Championships final.”
Cutts is supporting his training partner Adam Hague at the EIS.
“It’s good for me because I’ve got him to the stage he’s at. People think it bothers me if he beats me but it doesn’t because he’s my training partner. If it was somebody else I might be a bit upset but it’s just one of those things.”
*The British Athletics Team Trials take place at the EIS Sheffield from 11-12 February 2017. Tickets are available at www.britishathletics.org.uk