12 June 2008
Walkers will be descending on the picturesque Victoria Park in Royal Leamington Spa on Sunday 15th June for the 8th Royal Leamington Spa Grand Prix of Race Walking.
The EAA Permit meeting represents the last chance for many walkers to qualify for Beijing and as such the event has attracted walkers from a record 19 different countries, ranging from India, Ecuador, Brazil and Columbia.
The event will be staged in Victoria Park, which played host to last year’s successful European Cup Race Walking which saw five UK All Comers Records. The event will also see teams from Ireland and Scotland taking on their English hosts in the first ever Anglo-Celtic Cup of Race Walking. It will also incorporate the Irish Senior Championships, the first time ever that and Irish Championships has been staged overseas.
Jo Jackson (Redcar Race Walking Club) who has been breaking British Records for fun in the last few months will be competing in her last 20km before she competes for Team GB in Beijing. At the time of the last Olympic Games in Athens she was still a middle distance runner, an excellent example for talent transfer programmes ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.
She will attempt to become the first British Woman ever to take the Leamington Grand Prix Title and will face tough competition from Greece’s Despina Zapounidou, Agnieszka Dygacz from Poland and Slovakian duo of Zuzana Malikova and Maria Galikova.
Daniel King (Colchester Harrieres) will lead the English team in the Anglo-Celtic Cup. He will be looking to make up for the disappointment of being disqualified at the World Cup and build on his Olympic B standard performance over 50km he recorded earlier this year.
Amongst the favourites for the event will be Irish duo Colin Griffin and Jamie Costin, Diogo Martins of Portugal, Spaniards Jose Diaz and David Dominguez and Pole Benjamin Kucinski.
The race will see walkers from Ecuador, France, Columbia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, India and Sweden looking to qualify for the Olympic Games. Amongst the favourites here will be Germany’s Maik Berger and Ecuadorian Segundo Sanchez.
These races willsee athlete from the host nation taking on walkers from Ireland, Scotland and Germany.
The Men’s 50 Kilometres gets the programme under way at 9.00.