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Walkers Prepare for European Cup

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Jo Jackson amongst walkers
Walkers like Jackson are benefitting from the new centre

 

14 May 2009

The race walkers from the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland Athletics Team used the facilities and expertise at the new UKA National Race Walk Centre last weekend as they prepared for the forthcoming European Cup Race Walking in Metz France.

This event will see Great Britain’s team of seven take on Europe’s best on the 24th May.  Amongst the athletes attending was Johanna Jackson who has set three British Records already this season as she looks to build on her 21st place in the Beijing Olympics over 20km.

The weekend was led by the newly appointed Carnegie Director of Race Walking Dr Andi Drake, who in this capacity will also be the Team Leader and Head of Delegation in Metz. Dr Ian Richards a Lecturer in the Carnegie Faculty will also accompany the team in the capacity of Team Manager. Ian was the Championship Director of the last edition of the European Cup Race Walking which was staged in Royal Leamington Spa in 2007. This event was supported by a number of Carnegie staff and students, as well as the University being a National partner in the event.

Also joining the team in France will be Carnegie Biomechanists Brian Hanley and Dr Nassos Bissos, who have worked alongside the squad since 2006. They will be conducting a major study of the junior races in Metz and this follows up the two most comprehensive biomenchanical studies of major race walking events at the 2007 European Cup Race Walking and the 2008 IAAF World Cup of Race Walking (Cheboskary, Russia). Brian and Nassos have recently co-authored with Andi Drake two articles which along with Andi’s work on the physiology of race walking form the substantive part of the IAAF’s latest edition of their journal New Studies in Athletics, which has a special focus on race walking.

The team also be accessed the expertise of a number of Carnegie staff including support from the Carnegie Director of Athletics Mick Hill, and physiotherapist Sarah McDowell from the Carnegie Centre for Sports Performance and Well Being. The preparation camp also enabled a number of students to gain valuable experience of working with a high performance squad ahead of a major championship.

Looking forward to the forthcoming event in Metz, Andi Drake said, “this is the strongest team Great Britain has sent to the European Cup since 2000 and Carnegie has played a major role in the athletes preparation”.

Preview to the weekend's action will appear on www.uka.org.uk next week,