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UK Athletics

Norwich Union GB Seniors announced for World Cross Country Championships

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UK Athletics today announced the selection of a full complement of 15 senior athletes in the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships to be staged in Mombasa, Kenya, on Saturday 24 March.


The nine men and six women have all agreed to either attend the acclimatisation camp being established by UKA in Durban, South Africa, or to make alternative thorough preparations mutually agreed between themselves and the governing body to compete in what are generally accepted as the hardest races in the athletics world in 80% humidity and 35° Celsius heat.


The team, named following the World Trials that were incorporated into the BUSA Championships at the University of Bath last Saturday, has an average age of 26. It is…


Men: Alan Buckley (Gateshead Harriers), Mo Farah (Newham and Essex Beagles), Phil Nicholls (Tipton Harriers), Ben Noad (Highgate Harriers), Michael Skinner (Blackheath Harriers Harriers and Bromley AC), Chris Thompson (Aldershot, Farnham and District), Steve Vernon (Stockport Harriers), Jason Ward (Altrincham AC) and Phil Wicks (Belgrave Harriers).


Women: Elle Baker (South London Harriers), Hatti Dean (Hallamshire Harriers Sheffield), Felicity Milton (Durham University), Jo Pavey (Exeter Harriers), Kate Reed (Bristol and West AC) and Hayley Yelling (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow AC).


The most notable absentee following the Trials is the winner of the men’s race at Bath, Frank Tickner (Wells City Harriers), who has decided to concentrate on his final examinations at Birmingham University, where he is studying English and French.


Explaining the decision to select a full squad, UK Athletics Senior Coordinator for Endurance Spencer Barden said: “There was never much doubt that we would have a full women’s team. We have four of the athletes who helped us win the team silver medals at the European Cross Country Championships in December plus the athletes who finished second and fourth in the trial. They amount to a mix of experience and youth that epitomises the strength in depth in women’s endurance running in the UK.


“Some people may be surprised that we are taking a full team of men in support of Mo Farah, who was pre-selected once he had won the European title. Chris Thompson has been training very well with Mo in South Africa for the past few weeks. And the other seven finished within 32 seconds of each other at Bath after a quality, competitive race.


“It is also significant that the vast majority are young enough to improve with this unique experience as we strive to raise our standards on the way to London 2012. While we are proud to be the top cross country nation at European Championships, we must never lose sight of where we are in relation to global standards. This will be a massively difficult away fixture – but an unforgettable learning experience for our athletes.”


The Junior Trials will be incorporated into the UK Inter-Counties Championships at Nottingham on Saturday 24 February.