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Spar Sprints Squad in the picture

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Lee McConnell
Lee McConnell

Many of the UK’s most promising teenage hurdlers and 400m runners were able to join forces with senior athletes including European Indoors relay medallists Phil Taylor and Lee McConnell at the latest Spar Sprints Squad get-together organised by UK Athletics at the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham.

 

All had their actions filmed by Dr Aki Salo, Senior Lecturer in Biomechanics at the University of Bath. The athletes and their personal coaches were then able to discuss the results with UK Event Coaches Colin Bovell (sprint hurdles), Nick Dakin (400m hurdles), Jared Deacon (400m), UK Athletics Head of Coaching and Teaching Callum Orr and UK Athletics Senior Coordinator for Sprints and Hurdles Derek Redmond.

 

In addition, the personal coaches had a session with newly appointed 4x100m coach John Isaac on competition preparation, concentrating on athletes who have had an indoor season and are now looking forward to progressing outdoors.

 

And there was information from physiotherapist Martin Haines, who is devising a series of one-day courses advising coaches how to spot potential problems and avoid injuries in their athletes.

 

The athletes who attended reflected the fact that Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland teams of all ages will be in action this summer at the IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan; the European Under 23 Championships in Debrecen, Hungary; the European Junior Championships in Hengelo, Netherlands; the IAAF World Youth Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic; and the European Youth Olympic Festival in Belgrade, Serbia.

 

Sprint hurdlers who took advantage of their invitations were Julian Adeniran (Charnwood AC), who competed at last summer’s World Junior Championships; 18-year-old Alex Al-Ameen (Blackheath and Bromley); Helen Asher (Liverpool Harriers), England Indoor 60m hurdles bronze medallist this winter; World Juniors 110m hurdles finalist Gianni Frankis (Basildon AC); Midland Indoor Under 20 silver medallist Joseph Hylton (Severn AC); 17-year-old Edirin Okoro (Birchfield Harriers), Midlands Indoor Under 20 champion and England Indoor Under 20 bronze medallist; Katey Read (Liverpool Harriers), the 20-year-old AAA Under 23 100m hurdles champion; 17-year-old Serita Solomon (Blackheath and Bromley), the England Indoor Under 20 champion; plus seniors Dominic Girdler (Belgrave Harriers), Duncan Malins (Newham and Essex Beagles) and Dwayne Stoddart (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow AC).

 

McConnell (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) and fellow Norwich Union GB internationals Matt Elias (Cardiff AAC), Ryan Dinham (Belgrave Harriers), David Greene (Swansea Harriers) and Liz Fairs (Trafford AC) were joined in the 400m hurdles squad by Tamworth AC’s two 17-year-olds Meghan Beesley and Nathan Woodward, who both won Under 17 300m hurdles titles last summer at the UK School Games as well as the English Schools and AAA Championships; former GB junior international Eilidh Child (Pitreavie AAC) and Iain McDonald (Birchfield Harriers); Welsh 400m champion Faye Harding (Sale Harriers Manchester); BUSA 400m hurdles champion and AAA Under 23 silver medallist Anwen Rees (Carmarthen Harriers); and 21-year-old Richard Yates (Trafford AC), AAA Under 23 silver medallist and UK Challenge champion.

 

In the 400m squad alongside senior internationals Taylor (Liverpool Pembroke and Sefton AC), Carey Marshall (Edinburgh Southern Harriers), Lesley Owusu (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow AC) and Conrad Williams (Kent AC) were Under 23 Scott Caine (Trafford AC), 18-year-old Emma Cloggie (Banchory Stonehaven AC), 19-year-old Adam Daish (Herts Phoenix), England Indoor Under 20 champion Robert Davis (Birchfield Harriers), 16-year-old Carmen Gedling (Liverpool Harriers), 18-year-old Laura Gillhespy (Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde AC), Emma Kemp (Stevenage and North Herts AC), Under 23 Louis Kwakye (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies), 18-year-old David Martin (Victoria Park AAC), 20-year-old Scottish senior champion Gemma Nicol (Dunfermline and West Fife AC / Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers), David Riley (Trafford AC), 19-year-old Kris Robertson (Kirkintilloch Olympians), who won a 4x400m bronze medal with Norwich Union GB at last summer’s World Junior Championships and is now an Under 23; and 18-year-old Laura Scougall (Birchfield Harriers).