AFTER returning to full fitness last summer following a broken foot, Banstead hurdler Jacob Paul insists it is full steam ahead from the off this year.

Back in 2015, Paul skipped the whole of the indoor season in order to shake off the effects of a foot injury sustained in the semi-final of the 2014 World Junior Championships in Oregon.

It was a decision that bore fruit as he clocked first a 400m hurdles personal best of 50.38 seconds in June before lowering his 400m flat time to 47.84secs.

But with a solid winter’s training under his belt, the 21-year-old is returning to the indoor scene this spring, including representing the University of Bath at the BUCS Nationals in Sheffield from Friday.

And with improving upon his fourth place finish at last year’s British Championships a major goal for this year, former Banstead Junior School pupil Paul is ready and raring to get going.

“It’s been going really well this winter. The weather has been pretty kind,” he said.

“Usually I don’t like training in the cold, but it’s been fairly warm and training has gone a lot better.

“But it’s all about the racing at the end of the day and indoor competitions are a good way to warm up for the summer ones.

“BUCS is a good opportunity to compete and have a bit of fun at the same time. I’m sure it’s going to be a great atmosphere.

“I missed the indoor BUCS last year as I had a broken foot. I did that in July 2014 so I was just training through the winter. It worked quite as it allowed me to focus on training but I’m looking to hit the ground running this year.”

Now into his final year of studying sport and social sciences at the University of Bath, Paul will face stiff competition on the domestic scene as the country’s best hurdlers battle it out ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio.

But he insists that will only drive him on to lift his level of performance.

“There’s the senior championships this summer and Europeans and Olympics,” he added.

“Everyone will be aiming to peak as it’s Olympic year. I want to try and run sub 50 seconds. I was fourth at the British Championships.

“I’m looking to improve my position in the senior British rankings.”

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, representing more than 150 institutions. Covering 52 sports, BUCS aids grass roots participation through to supporting aspiring elite athletes en route to Commonwealth or Olympic Games