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Norwich Union European Trials - Women's preview

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There is a record entry for the Norwich Union European Trials incorporating the AAA of England Championships at SportCity Manchester on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July.

 

The UK’s leading athletes have their sights set on taking the first two places in the trials; if they have the UKA elite standard they will be guaranteed selection for the European Championships. The exception is the 5000m, with just one place available.

 

Women's Preview

 

100m (elite standard: 11.30, development standard: 11.60)

 

Joice Maduaka, four-times champion looks to be in excellent shape, she was second in the European Cup and will start marginal favourite though Emma Ania (Shaftesbury) has run 11.32 this summer and Turner was inside 11.40 in the Commonwealth Games, where she was Britain's top sprinter. Also likely to challenge are Jeanette Kwayke, Emily Freeman (Wakefield) and former UK number one, and 2004 champion, Abi Oyepitan (Shaftesbury Barnet) who has made a great return from injury this summer.

In the UK Challenge Susan Deacon (Edinburgh Southern) leads on 706 points from Sale's Helen Taylor (535) and Trafford's Louise Bloor (421).

 

200m (elite standard: 23.00, development standard: 23.75)

 

Donna Fraser is recovering from injury that ruled her out of the Commonwealth Games, so the 2006 title will be contested by many of the 100m exponents. Olympic finalist, and 2003 champion Abi Oyepitan tops the rankings with a 23.06 from her European Cup run while Maduaka, who has worked on her stamina this year, also keen to go inside the elite time of 23.00 and add to her 1999 and 2004 titles.

Emily Freeman (2006 best of 23.25) and Jeanette Kwayke (23.34) and Emma Ania  should be in medal contention as should Commonwealth 400m champion Christine Ohuruogo (Newham & Essex Beagles) who goes in the shorter event as she makes her first appearance of the summer. In the UK Challenge, 100m leader Susan Deacon (574) has a comfortable lead over Loughton's Jo Ryan (451) and Cannock & Staff's Kath Jones (421).

 

400m (elite standard: 51.50, development standard: 53.40)

 

The big favourite is Nicola Sanders (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow), who has the elite time, and is focusing on this event rather than the 400 hurdles, which she ran in the Commonwealth Games. Battling away for the other medals and possible relay places are Melanie Purkiss (Team Southampton), 2003 champion Helen Karagounis (Birchfield) and Kim Wall (Basildon).

In the UK Challenge, Sale's Rebecca Sweeney (573) leads from Spenborough's Amy Freeman (511) and Elgin's Kath Evans (413).

 

800m (elite standard 2:01.00, development standard: 2:02.50)

 

This could well be the event of the Championships with half a dozen athletes capable of inside the elite time of 2:01.00, making the development time almost irrelevant. Becky Lyne (Hallamshire) will be hoping to get a clear run as per her brilliant 1:58.20 in Gateshead rather than what happened in the European Cup where she fell in a slow race. Scott, who ran 1:59.20 in the Commonwealths, is always a tough competitor but she will be under threat from fast improving Meadows (2:00.16 in Gateshead), Shaftesbury Barnet's Marilyn Okoro (2:00.53) and Cardiff's Amanda Pritchard (2:00.99 for an easy win at Solihull), who all look in tremendous form.

Also in contention in what should be a cracking final are Indoor sensation Karen Harewood (Corby) who ran 2:00.53 indoors and Commonwealth finalist Simpson (2:01.11) who is narrowly outside the standard. In the UK Challenge, Morpeth's Nisha Desai (577) leads from Basildon's Ellie Childs (528) and Basingstoke & Mid Hants' Clare Robinson (441).

 

1500m (elite standard 4:05.00, development standard: 4:13.00)

 

Going into the European Trials, no one has the elite standard (a very tough 4:05.00) and top ranked Jo Pavey (Exeter) goes for her preferred 1500 and former world medallist Tullett has retired from Championship running. Therefore the race should be between Clitheroe and Commonwealth champion Lisa Dobriskey (Ashford) while Katrina Wooton (Bedford) has the easier development standard of 4:13.00 as does UK age-16 record holder Stephanie Twell (Aldershot Farnham & District).

Rachel Ogden (Worthing) could be due for a breakthrough based on her 800m form. Another junior Jessica Sparke (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies), leads the UK Challenge on 578 points from Havering Mayesbrook's Faye Fullerton (554) and Twell (478).

 

5000m (elite standard 15:20.00, development standard: 15:40.00)

 

Jo Pavey, who last won this title back in 2001 has already been inside 15 minutes and won a Commonwealth medal and European Cup 3000 title and is an clearcut favourite.

Three-time champion Yelling returns and should be in the medal hunt along with her sister in law Liz Yelling (Bedford). Also worth watching are American-based Vicky Gill (Chorley), Eleanor Baker (South London) and Juliet Potter (Charnwood).

UK age 17 record holder Emily Pidgeon (Gloucester) was only a second outside the development time at Solihull with 15:41.00 and could improve further in a competitive race though is more likely to focus on World Junior selection for Beijing, where she also has the qualifying mark in the 1500, 3000 and steeplechase. Another junior star Sian Edwards (Kettering) heads the UK Challenge with 542 from Kendal's Gemma Phillips (484) and Chester le Street's Morag McDonnell (455).

 

3000 steeplechase (elite standard 9:40.00, development standard: 10:05.00)

 

Tina Brown (Coventry) won the title in 2005, but unfortunately injured herself in the European Cup and fractured a leg, to rule her out of the trials but former UK record holder Ankier returns in what could be a competitive race.

In Watford there was a good battle between Hattie Dean (Hallamshire) and National cross-country champion Lizzy Hall (Herts Phoenix) which saw Hall set a British record of 9:48.51 but has since suffered some injury niggles, while Dean who was only a few seconds back has since improved to 9:51.12 in Athens. Ruth Senior (Norwich) leads the UK Challenge with 504 points from Dean (413) and Aylesbury's Carolyn Boosey (258).

 

100m hurdles (elite standard 13.00, development standard: 13.45)

The 2005 result was a clear win for Sarah Claxton (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) in 12.96 from Diane Allahgreen (13.21) and Sheffield's Jessica Ennis (13.26). Claxton should defend on her 2006 form which saw her finish 4th in the European Cup and then run a PB 12.93 in Cork earlier in the month which puts her inside the elite standard of 13.00.

Improving Gemma Bennett (Newham & Essex Beagles) and Sara McGreavy (Sale) are well inside the development standard of 13.45 with respective 13.18 and 13.26s. Also in the medal battle should be Heptathlete stars Kelly Sotherton (Birchfield) and Ennis. In the UK Challenge first is Catriona Pennet (Edinburgh Southern) on 548 from Liverpool's Katey Reed (518) and Wakefield's Zara Hohn (475).

 

400mh (elite standard 56.00, development standard: 57.80)

 

Former Olympic finalist Natasha Danvers Smith (Shaftesbury Barnet) heads the UK rankings with a fast 54.85 and will be keen to build on her Commonwealth silver. McConnell took the Commonwealth bronze and bettered the elite standard in Melbourne.

Emma Duck (Team Southampton) has run 56.84 this year, which is closer to the elite standard than the Development standard and her clubmate Sian Scott is also in range of the development time (57.80) but is well short of her 2005 form that saw her go inside 57 seconds four times.

 

In the UK Challenge Hannah Stares (Belgrave) heads the event rankings with 601 from Birchfield's Michelle Thomas (582) and Colchester's Nicola Martell (473).

 

High Jump (elite standard: 1.91, development standard: 1.89)   

 

Jones is now Moncrieff but her 1.85 season's best is well short of the necessary 1.91 elite qualifying mark and she may struggle to win the event for the sixth year running. The one athlete who has leapt 1.91 this year, Jessica Ennis (Sheffield) is in the field though she will be focussing primarily on the Heptathlon in the European Championships.

European Cup representative an Commonwealth medallist Julie Crane (Sale) has a 1.89 indoor mark and 1.88 outdoors mark to her credit.

 

Juniors Vicki Hubbard (Grantham) and Stephanie Pywell (Sale) are closest to the development standard of 1.89, with respective marks of 1.88 and 1.86 but may be primarily concerned with selection for the World Junior Championships, which both have easily achieved.

 

Also in the field are Commonwealth Heptathlon champion Kelly Sotherton (Birchfield), another multi eventer Julie Hollmann (Belgrave) and Cardiff's Irish athlete Sharon Hevernan. In the UK Challenge, Hubbard (650) leads from Bennett (605) and Pywell (580).

 

Pole vault (elite standard: 4.45, development standard: 4.20)

 

The six-times champion Whitlock is well short of her British record form of 4.47, and will need the very tough 4.45 elite standard to ensure Gothenburg selection. Top ranked this summer is 22 year-old Kate Dennison (Stoke), who has a 4.30 outdoor best from the Commonwealth Games, and has the development mark of 4.20 under her belt.

 

Spain, also has the development mark and should be in medal contention. In the UK Challenge, Whitlock (821) is a clear leader from Catherine Macrae (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) on 675 and Hilary Smith (Birchfield) on 660.

 

Long Jump (elite standard: 6.65, development standard: 6.50)

 

Sotherton heads the UK ranking with 6.67, which is superior to the elite standard of 6.65 and just short of that is European medallist Jade Johnson (Herne Hill), who seeks her fourth title, but isn't quite in her best form yet.

 

Other potential medallists  include Hollman, Gillian Cooke (Edinburgh Southern) and top junior Amy Harris (Birchfield). In the UK Challenge Cooke (629) leads from Trafford's Louise Bloor (616) and White (588).

 

Triple Jump (elite standard: 14.10, development standard: 13.65)

 

Ireland's Taneisha Scanlon (13.30) won in 2005 from Shaftesbury Barnet's Nadia Williams (12.95) and Woodford Green with Essex Ladies' Stephanie Aneto (12.95).

 

The big news this year is the return of European and Commonwealth champion Ashia Hansen (Birchfield). The 34-year-old, who won this title back in 1996, 2001 and 2002, ruptured a tendon in her left knee at the European Cup in Poland in June 2004 and this is her first competition for two years.

 

Commonwealth medallist Williams should be in the battle for medals along with Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow pairing Karlene Turner and Yasmine Regis, though the European standards may be beyond everyone bar Hansen and even that may be too much in her first competition back. In the UK Challenge Williams (678) leads from Aneto (636) and Yate's Sara Barry (550).

 

Shot Put (elite standard: 18.00, development standard: 16.55)

 

The 2005 Championships saw a win for Shaftesbury Barnet's Julie Dunkley (16.14) from Woodford Green with Essex Ladies' Jo Duncan (15.55) and Sale's Rebecca Peake (15.41).

 

Duncan, who won the title in 2001 and 2003, has improved this year all the way to 17.11 and starts big favourite. Dunkley, Eva Massey (Belgrave), Eleanor Gatrell (Woking) and Peake should contest the other medals while Commonwealth Heptathlon champion Kelly Sotherton is also in the field and after some shot practice.

 

The UK Challenge is led by defending Challenge winner Duncan (776) from Leicester's Eden Francis (631) and Birchfield's Liz Millward (521).

 

Discus (elite standard: 60.00, development standard: 56.00)

 

Phillipa Roles is favourite and should win her fifth title (and she has also been runner-up five times) but hasn't yet challenged the elite standard (60.00) this summer. However, 22 year-old Smithson is close to the development standard of 56.00 with 55.85.

 

The only other medal contenders look to be Ndwiobe and Emma Carpenter (Exeter). The UK Challenge is led by Ndwiobe (701), from Carpenter (646) and Blackburn Harriers' Sarah Henton (539).

 

Hammer (elite standard: 69.00, development standard: 64.50)

 

Shirley Webb (Trafford) won last year with 66.60 from Birchfield's Zoe Derham (64.02) and Gloucester's Lorraine Shaw (62.46). Webb and Derham should be battling for gold again though the elite standard of 69.00 will be a challenge for both to make. Lesley Brannan (Birchfield) and Carys Parry (Rhondda) look likely to contest the other medals. The UK Challenge is led by Webb (820) from Blackheath & Bromley's Rachel Blackie (621) and Derham (618).

 

Javelin Throw (elite standard: 60.00, development standard: 55.50)

 

Goldie Sayers starts an overwhelming favourite after she achieved the elite standard with 60.41 in Denmark last week, and should win her fourth title in a row. Only Birchfield's Jo Blair has also thrown over 50m this year while Wimbourne's Louise Watton looks the other likely medallist.

 

In the UK Challenge defending Challenge champion Laura Whittingham (Wakefield) leads on 590 from Havering's Louise Mathews (575) and Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow's Rosie Semenytsh (551).

 

5km walk

 

The 2005 event was won by Redcar's Johanna Jackson (23:34.12) from Steyning's  Niobe Menendez (24:00.37) and Kingston upon Hull's  Katie Stones (24:03.61). Jackson and Stones return though will be hard pressed by top junior Rebecca Mersh (Sheffield).

 

The UK Challenge series provides British athletes just below that of international standard and aspiring athletes, with top-class competition throughout the summer and throughout the UK.

 

Altogether there are 48 events throughout the season to score points in culminating in a final at Manchester on the 27 August.