Luke Cutts will fly to Australia on Sunday with the aim of doing his home village of Thurnscoe proud in the Commonwealth Games and going one better than at the same event in Glasgow four years ago.
The 30-year-old pole vaulter has dominated the domestic competitions for years and is the British record holder but his only international medal remains the silver he picked up in 2014 when he lost a 'jump-off' to England team-mate Steve Lewis for the gold. This year's event takes place in Gold Coast from April 4-15.
Cutts has some experience of major competitions having represented Great Britain at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin and the 2016 Olympics in Rio as well as several European Championships. He is now hoping to do both England and Thurnscoe proud, saying: "It is a little mining village and not many people from there compete across the world in sport. I am proud to represent Thurnscoe.
"Training is going well. I am jumping some really good heights and, if I do the same in the Commonwealths, then there is no reason why I can't get a medal. I am proud of my silver from last time, it's the highlight of my career so far but I want to go one better this time. It was disappointing at the time to lose in the jump-off but it's not something that haunts me. I just use it to drive me on."
A cut to his hand sustained at his job as a van-fitter hindered Cutts during his failed attempt to win a fifth successive British Indoor Championship gold medal last month. He believes his major rivals for the Commonwealth title will be Australian Kurtis Marschall and Canadian Shawnacy Barber as well as his Dearne ALC team-mate Adam Hague, from Rotherham, who will be on the England team alongside him. The duo will also be supported by their coach, Barnsley man Trevor Fox.
Cutts said: "It will be good to have Adam and my coach with me for some company and to keep me focused. It can be a bit boring when you are on your own on the other side of the world because most people just keep themselves to themselves and concentrate on their event. It's a long trip so I will have 14 days to shake off the jet lag and get used to being over there and to train. I will try to do a bit of sightseeing before the Games and then I am looking forward to the opening ceremony."