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UK Athletics

Combined eventers eye European Championships

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Jade Surman
Jade Surman

The first UK Athletics National Combined Events Squad weekend of winter enabled several athletes to receive ‘bespoke’ help in the build-up towards next summer’s European Under 23 and Junior Championships.


“We were able to tailor assistance specifically towards the needs and weaknesses of six or seven women and five men who are targeting next summer’s championships,” said Toni Minichiello, Chair of UK Athletics Event Management Group for Combined Events and personal coach to the reigning European Junior Champion Jessica Ennis.


Ennis, who made a blazing start to her senior career this year by winning the heptathlon bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games, leading Norwich Union GB to a high placing in the European Cup of Combined Events and finishing eighth in the European Championships with another personal best (6287 points), was one of the athletes to get extra help.


Minichiello explained: “Jess, Phyllis Agbo and Jade Surman had a brilliant javelin session with Peter Yates. As always, Peter did a sterling job, as did all the coaches – Ed Griss (discus), Dennis Johnson and Jan Rutter (high jump), Alan Richardson (pole vault), Ian Grant (hurdles) and Darrell Bunn (long jump).


“Because several of the invited squad were at the UKA Talent Camp at Loughborough, it meant that many of our coaches were able to help groups of four athletes at a time. It was much better in terms of what we have been able to deliver in the past, when groups have tended to be larger.


“For example, Jason Harvey came over from Northern Ireland with his father and they were really pleased with the help and advice they received.


“We are very conscious that combined events is the most successful part of British athletics at the moment and we are equally aware that we shall have quite a few medal prospects next summer.”


The Squad met at the EIS, Sheffield, and they will be back there for their next get-together on 2 and 3 December before moving to the UKA East Midlands Performance Centre at Loughborough University in January.