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City Challenge has the success factor

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Montell Douglas

25 October 2007

 

The Indoor City Challenge, part of UKA’s vehicle for talent development, is a driving force in athletics.

 

The Indoor City Challenge, which is launched this today, made its debut in 2005 with clear objectives; to provide the highest quality of competition possible for top club level athletes and those who are just below international level. The competition has since flourished with success and is now a calendar favourite. Last year over 600 athletes competed smashing 109 personal bests and it acted as a stepping-stone for many top young athletes to qualify for top events and progress towards elite level.

 

For many young competitors such as Montell Douglas (Blackheath & Bromley), Mark Lewis-Francis (Birchfield Harriers) and Jenny Meadows (Wigan & District) the challenge was the perfect winter preparation for successful and consistent outdoor seasons on the world stage.

 

Jessica Ennis (City of Sheffield), who was victorious in the final of the women’s long jump last year in her hometown, has since developed into one of the Worlds best heptathletes. Following her victory she had a fantastic season, the highlight being fourth place and a lifetime best in the heptathlon at the IAAF World Championships in August.

 

Tom Parsons (Birchfield Harriers), winner of the men’s high jump last year, used the Indoor City Challenge to qualify for the European Indoors; ‘It’s such a high standard of competition, its definitely as close as it can get to international standard at a domestic event. All the jumpers push each other which inevitably raises the standard.’

 

His win in February clearly got Tom’s year off to an incredible start as he went on to make British history as he and fellow GB high jumper Martyn Bernard (Wakefield Harriers) both made the IAAF World Championships high jump final, the first ever to feature two British jumpers.

 

Tom believes the ICC’s success lies in its original concept; ‘It’s become the most enjoyable indoor competition for me because you really feel part of a team. The atmosphere, comradeship and standard throughout the competition are great. It’s organised really well with good incentives!’ Among which are £15k in prizes, to be given out throughout the competition, including prize money to the first 3 teams in the Semi’s and Final, warm weather training packages (provided by WGT Sport Ltd), adidas trainers and adidas kit packages.

 

ICC Co-ordinator Paul Aldridge has been involved since the beginning of the competition and has watched it grow. He said; ‘this series has gone from strength to strength every year. It’s rising popularity is as a result of a serious competition opportunity and the element of individual and team competition. We try to add in an element of fun as well! Our belief is about making these competitions athlete centred and athlete focused ensuring that the competition is relevant for an athletes needs. We hope that every athlete who steps onto that track feels that this competition is about them, their individual performance and the contribution to their team.’

 

This year’s competition will kick off with semi-finals at Manchester on 27 January and Cardiff on 2 February. Last years winners, Sheffield, will host the final at which the top cities will battle it out to become Indoor City Challenge Winners for 2008.

 

For information and updates on the Indoor City Challenge visit the UK Athletes website; www.ukathletics.net/competitions/indoor-city-challenge