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WEEKEND PREVIEW

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Mark Lewis-Francis
Mark Lewis- Francis returns to the track after 2 year absence

 

BEDFORD INTERNATIONAL GAMES, 31 MAY
Mark Lewis-Francis (Birchfield Harriers) will make his first competitive track outing since 2007 on Sunday at BIG, Bedford. The Birmingham-born Olympic 4x100m gold medallist has been riddled with injury for the past two years but will begin a 2009 World Championships bid at the high quality season opener.

The annual early season competition forms part of the McCain UK Challenge Series and is awash with GB&NI regulars and top club athletes looking for top quality competition against athletes such as McCain Power of Ten heptathlon rankings leader Jessica Ennis (City of Sheffield), who will look to continue her excellent return to fitness this year with an outing in the high jump and javelin.

Olympic sibling sprinters Ashlee (City of Stoke) and Alex Nelson (Sale Harriers) will stretch their legs over 100m and 200m respectively. World Junior 400m hurdles bronze medallist Meghan Beesley (Birchfield Harriers) returns to action following victory at the BUCS Championships on the same track earlier this month.

For more information, see: http://www.big2009.net/

ARTUR TAKAC MEMORIAL, 29 MAY, BELGRADE
Olympic sprinters Craig Pickering (Marshall Milton Keynes) and Simeon Williamson (Highgate Harriers) are entered for the men’s 100m. In the sprint hurdles, Andy Turner (Sale Harriers) and Chris Baillie (Birchfield Harriers) go in the men’s 110m hurdles and Gemma Bennett (Shaftesbury Barnet) is in the women’s 100m hurdles.

In the endurance events, World junior 1500m champion Stephanie Twell (Aldershot, Farnham & District), European U23 5000m champion Laura Kenney (Royal Sutton Coldfield) and European junior cross country silver medallist Charlotte Purdue (Aldershot, Farnham & District) race in the 5000m. In the women’s 1500m Emma Pallant (Aldershot, Farnham & District) and Charlene Thomas (Wakefield) are both entered.

For more information, see: http://www.beomeeting.com/

REEBOK GRAND PRIX, 30 MAY, NEW YORK
Olympic bronze medallist Tasha Danvers (Shaftesbury Barnet) will face up to Beijing gold medallist Melanie Walker (Jamaica) in a high-quality women’s 400m hurdles. Fellow Brits Nick McCormick (Morpeth Harriers) and Barbara Parker (City of Norwich) will face equally stiff tests in the men’s and women’s 500m races.

In his first track race since a successful indoor season which saw him finish 6th over 3000m at the European Indoor Championships, McCormick will face a tough international field including defending world champion Bernard Lagat (USA). Olympic steeplechaser Parker is also a race of high-quality led by Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia).

For more information, see: http://www.usatf.org/

BRITISH MILERS CLUB GRAND PRIX, 30 MAY, MANCHESTER
Sport City plays host to the British Milers Club Grand Prix which features some strong domestic fields and the possibility of several keenly-fought races in a meeting that forms part of this year’s McCain UK Challange Series. Olympic steeplechaser Helen Clitheroe (Preston Harriers) features in the women’s 1500m A race.

The women’s 800m A race will see Dani Christmas (Loughborough University), Tara Bird (Woodford Green), Karen Harewood (Corby AC) and Claire Gibson (Kilbarchan AAC) clash in what should be a fascinating contest. The men’s 5000m entries are led by GB & NI World Cross Country team mates andy Vernon (Aldershot, Farnham & District) and Lee Merrien (Newham & Essex).

For more information, see:www.britishmilersclub.com

EUROPEAN CLUBS CHAMPIONSHIPS, 30-31 MAY, CASTELLON, SPAIN
Newham & Essex Beagles men’s team will represent the UK in what is the track and field equivalent of football’s Champions League Final. In a strong looking line-up are Olympic semi-finallist Tyrone Edgar who will race in the men’s 100m, Olympic pole vaulter Steve Lewis, GB & NI relay quad member Rikki Fifton who will race in the 200m and World indoor silver medallist Chris Tomlinson in the long jump.

For more information, see:  http://www.european-athletics.org