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AVIVA GB & NI TEAM SET FOR ITALIAN JOB

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European Indoors
Athletes with a ticket to Turin

 

24 February 2009

This winter’s UK record-breaking athletes Mo Farah (Newham & Essex) and Kate Dennison (Sale Harriers Manchester) are included in a 36-strong Aviva Great Britain & Northern Ireland Team for the European Indoor Championships in Turin, Italy on 6-8 March. The championships mark the first for the Aviva GB & NI team with UKA’s Head Coach Charles van Commenee at the helm.

Farah has enjoyed an excellent start to 2009, breaking the indoor 3000m record twice already this winter, most recently at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham with 7:34.47 to go top of the European rankings. Dennison has also twice bettered the existing UK indoor best, setting a new mark of 4.46m for the women’s pole vault, also in Birmingham.

Farah said: “I’m really pleased with the way the year has gone so far. But I’m not taking anything for granted. There will be some tough opposition in Turin and I’ve got some hard work ahead of me. I’m just concentrating on maintaining my focus and being at my best when it counts and then hopefully, the rewards should come.”

There is also a place in the team for the evergreen Donna Fraser (Croydon Harriers) who has been named in the women’s 400m and 4x400m following an excellent indoor campaign that has seen the 36 year old win a 200m/400m double at the Aviva European Trials & UK Championships, the latter with an indoor personal best of 52.83.

Fraser will be competing in her 14th senior major athletics championship, a remarkable record that includes four Olympic Games and five outdoor World Championships. She has represented GB & NI at the European Indoors twice previously in 1998 and 2005.

Fraser said: “I started out this indoor season just wanting to enjoy my athletics again. I didn’t really think it could have gone this well. I feel like I did about ten years ago and am really looking forward to competing for the Aviva Great Britain & Northern Ireland Team at the Europeans.”

At the last European Indoors in Birmingham in 2007, GB & NI topped the medal table with 10 medals including four gold. Just three of the individual medallists from that team, Craig Pickering (Marshall Milton Keynes) – 2007 60m silver, Martyn Bernard (Wakefield Harriers) – 2007 high jump bronze and Kelly Sotherton (Birchfield Harriers) - 2007 pentathlon silver are returning for another medal tilt.


Sotherton has been struggling with injury and will decide in the coming week whether to compete in Turin. Pickering completes a strong triumvirate of British sprinters in the men’s 60m alongside UK Champion Dwain Chambers (Belgrave Harriers) and Aviva Grand Prix winner Simeon Williamson (Highgate Harriers), who occupy the top two places in this winter’s European indoor rankings.

Williamson said: “Things are going very nicely for me right now. I’ve really put in a lot of hard work this winter in Jamaica and back here in the UK with my coach Lloyd Cowan. I’m getting faster and faster as the year goes on and I’m feeling very confident I can be faster still for Turin.”  

Head Coach Charles van Commenee said: “Major championships are the best part of any athlete’s life. It is what they train and live for. The athletes selected in the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team have a fantastic opportunity to achieve something significant in the sport.

“We will do all we can help them try and make the most of this opportunity and perform to the best of their ability. In recent years, we have established a really strong reputation within European athletics, especially in light of some of the successes at last year’s European Cup, the Olympic Games and European Cross Country Championships.

“It is important for us to sustain our standing by committing ourselves to the challenges in Turin and competing fiercely in order to meet our individual and collective goals.” 

 

AVIVA GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND TEAM

MEN

60m: Dwain Chambers (Belgrave Harriers); Craig Pickering (Marshall Milton Keynes); Simeon Williamson (Highgate Harriers); 400m: Richard Buck (City of York);Nick Leavey (Thames Valley); 1500m: Neil Speaight (Belgrave Harriers); Chris Warburton (Notts AC); 3000m: Mark Draper (Bedford & County); Mo Farah (Newham & Essex); Nick McCormick (Morpeth Harriers); 60m hurdles: Allan Scott (Shaftesbury Barnet);Andy Turner(Sale Harriers Manchester); High Jump: Martyn Bernard (Wakefield Harriers); Samson Oni (Belgrave Harriers); Pole Vault: Steve Lewis (Newham & Essex); Long Jump: Greg Rutherford (Marshall Milton Keynes); Chris Tomlinson (Newham & Essex); Shot: Carl Myerscough (Blackpool, Wyre & Fylde); 4x400m: Buck, Dale Garland (Birchfield Harriers); Leavey, Nigel Levine (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow); Phil Taylor (Liverpool, Pembroke & Sefton)

WOMEN

400m: Donna Fraser (Croydon Harriers); 800m: Jennifer Meadows (Wigan Harriers); Marilyn Okoro (Shaftesbury Barnet); 1500m: Hannah England (Oxford City); Susan Scott (City of Glasgow Victoria Park) 3000m: Katrina Wootton (Bedford & County); 60m hurdles: Gemma Bennett(Shaftesbury Barnet); Sarah Claxton (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies); Pole Vault: Kate Dennison (Sale Harriers Manchester) Long Jump: Jade Johnson(Herne Hill); Pentathlon: Kelly Sotherton (Birchfield Harriers); 4x400m: Vicki Barr(Rugby & Northampton); Tara Bird (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies); Fraser; Kim Wall (Basildon AC); Dawn Wilson (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow)